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Sub-Saharan Africa recorded rare zero passenger fatalities in 2016— IATA report

Contrary to earlier speculations, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported that sub-Saharan African aviation sector had zero passenger fatalities in 2016.

The latest report of the international body showed that the jet hull loss rates by region of operator (per million departures), recorded 2.50 between 2011 and 2015; Asia Pacific Region recorded 0.38 in 2016, having recorded 0.42 between 2011 and 2015.

The report shows that the sub-Saharan African Region recorded no fatalities in 2016, as European Region recorded 0.27 in 2016, and 0.12 between 2011 and 2015; Latin America/Caribbean Region 0.79 in 2016, and 0.63 between 2011 and 2015.

Analysts say the implication is that safety matters are now taken more seriously in the region more than before 2016.

In the same vein, the Middle East/North Africa Region recorded 2.49 in 2016, while it had 0.72 between 2011 and 2015; and North America Region recorded 0.31 in 2016, and 0.17 between 2011 and 2015.

The IATA report noted that sub-Saharan African had its best safety performance in the last decade in the year under review.

Further details gathered from the group’s website for the 2016 safety performance of commercial airline industry weekend, averred that the region however recorded one non-fatal turboprop hull loss.

IATA’s Director-General, Alexandre de Juniac however explained that the all accident rate was 2.30 per one million departures, compared to 9.73 for the previous five years.

He added that the sub-continent also saw continued improvement in turboprop safety, with a turboprop hull loss rate of 1.56, which is 85 per cent lower than its 2011-2015 yearly average, stressing that “Sub-Saharan airlines delivered a very strong performance in 2016. But we must not rest on this success. Safety is earned every day”.

“African nations should maintain this strong momentum by making  the IATA Standard Safety Assessment (for those carriers that are not eligible for IOSA) part of their airline certification process.

“Regional governments also need to accelerate the implementation of ICAO’s safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS).”

However, de Juniac noted that as of year-end 2016, only 22 African countries had at least 60 per cent SARPS implementation, noting that the 33 sub-Saharan airlines on the IOSA registry performed nearly twice as well as non-IOSA airlines in 2016 in terms of all accidents.

While maintaining that they also performed 7.5 times better than non-issue operators in the 2012-2016 period, de Juniac said the all-accident rate around the world, which was measured in accidents per 1 million flights, was 1.61 percent, an improvement from 1.79 percent in 2015.