in Air Transport / Features / ATM & Regulatory

Safety management key factor in recovery, says expert

Posted 15 December 2020 · Add Comment

Dr Kwasi Adjekum, Assistant Professor of Aviation at the University of North Dakota, USA, has more than 22 years of military and civil flying experience. A native of Ghana, he is an ICAO designated subject-matter expert in flight safety and IATA certified safety management systems implementation consultant. He explains why safety management is vital to post Covid recovery.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the aviation industry globally, including Africa. The low operational capacity and passenger throughput is having an adverse financial effect on direct service providers such as airlines and airports and ancillaries such as hospitality services and aviation fuel suppliers.
According to Africa Union data, the continent’s tourism and travel sectors may lose $50bn and at least 2m direct and indirect jobs. IATA estimates that 5m African livelihoods are at risk, and aviation-supported GDP could fall by as much as $37bn.
Such drastic losses in operational revenues and need for meeting fixed operational expenditures can limit financial and material resources appropriated for safety management and improvements.
One of the important lessons learned during this period is that resilience and diversification of operational strategies can be effective. One of Africa’s biggest carriers, Ethiopian Airlines, has managed to methodically align limited financial resources behind a carefully crafted dependence on route network optimization and massive cargo operations that has become a global model for sustainable operations.
According to Bloomberg, Ethiopian Airlines has covered all fixed costs and made a small profit for the fiscal year ended July 2020. The airline stripped out seats from 25 passenger aircraft and enlisted 20 more planes whose seats were left in place and the cargo was secured with safety belts. The airline was further aided by the UN's decision to open a humanitarian transport hub in Addis Ababa.
Ethiopian Airlines has leveraged proactive operational safety, cost-effective hub services, internal maintenance services, human-resource training and building on local contents to stay resilient.
Minimal government interference, despite being a government-owned carrier, has also augured well for their operations during this precarious time. That is a model that other African aviation service providers can adopt. The need for strategic allocation of financial resources to drastically restructure existing aviation assets and providing the required corporate governance for a successful turnaround is more than needed for aviation service providers in Africa.
I think that in terms of proactive safety management there must be implementation of safety management systems (SMS) across all safety-related disciplines in all African States. As part of the SMS, there must be concerted efforts at the exchange of safety information among African States which can promote the timely resolution of safety-critical items identified through safety risk management components of SMS.
Another very important lesson is the need for pre-pandemic emergency planning by all aviation service providers that will be inclusive of the SMS. Regular simulations of pandemic outbreaks and how airlines can contain them will be expedient.
There should be plans for tracking pandemic hotspots as part of operational strategies and testing/vaccination used as an alternative to quarantines.
Business contingency funds for such unforeseen scenarios may be a good idea by both governments and aviation service providers. Regular training and awareness on pandemic effects on aviation and mitigation strategies by aviation regulators and service providers will be helpful.


Other Stories
Latest News

IATA warns governments on high cost of testing

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to take action to address the high cost of COVID-19 tests in many jurisdictions and urged flexibility in permitting the use of cost-effective antigen tests as an

Gulfstream exceeds 500 in-flight connectivity service installations

Gulfstream Aerospace has surpassed 500 installations of the Inmarsat Jet ConneX in-flight connectivity platform on large- cabin aircraft. The Wi-Fi solution is available on new aircraft and can be retrofitted on qualifying existing

Embraer delivered 34 jets in Q2 of 2021

Embraer delivered a total of 34 jets in the second quarter of 2021, of which 14 were commercial aircraft and 20 were executive jets (12 light and eight large).

ICAO SG highlights African aviation's growth potential

Addressing Africa’s aviation leaders last week, most notably through her opening of the 2021 AFI Aviation Week, ICAO Secretary General Dr Fang Liu highlighted the tremendous potential future for aviation in Africa that could be

Single-engine Denali aircraft joins Beechcraft turboprop family

Textron Aviation is realigning its turboprop aircraft lineup as the single-engine Beechcraft Denali (previously branded the Cessna Denali) to join the legendary twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 260 and King Air 360/360ER as part of

Rostec starts developing hydrogen-powered aircraft engines

United Engine Corporation of Rostec has started a programme to develop hydrogen-powered engines for both aviation and ground applications.

WDS SK2601090322
See us at
Aviation MENA 2022WDS BT1202090322DAS21_BTAviation Africa 2021 BTOC