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
Advertisement
Latest News

Gulfstream flies first fully outfitted G700

The Gulfstream G700TM aircraft has flown for the first time fully outfitted and now joins the five other test aircraft already in the certification programme.

Egypt signs up for C295 support

The Egyptian Air Force - the largest C295 fleet operator worldwide with 24 aircraft - has signed a five-year services contract with Airbus for the performance-based support of its fleet.

100th flight between Europe and Africa via Bolloré WARA services

Bolloré Logistics has chartered its 100th weekly freight cargo flight between Europe and West Africa, one year after the air bridge was put in place to compensate for the restrictions on transport resulting from the Covid-19 health

NAS and World Economic Forum partner to share traveller vaccine records

National Aviation Services (NAS) has partnered with the World Economic Forum to enhance safe air travel by using its KuwaitMosafer platform to share Kuwait’s vaccine records with countries and airlines across the globe.

Africa Travel Week 2021 wraps up

Africa Travel Week 2021 has wrapped up its first virtual trade show and content programme with over 5,000 successful 1-on-1 meetings, 4,000 views of content sessions and over 4,300 minutes of speed networking.

Bombardier completes 100th Global 7500 business jet wing

Bombardier is celebrating the completion of the 100th wing for its Global 7500 business jet, a significant milestone for the industry-leading aircraft and for the company’s facility in Red Oak, Texas, where the advanced wing is

EDGE SK2601300621
See us at
WDS BT1202090322Aviation Africa 2021 BTOCAviation MENA 2021DAS21_BT