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UN forum targets improved African aviation safety

afrol News, 15 October - As an ongoing concern, African states are being helped to beef up aviation safety and security for improved services and efficiency.

UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) said it is seeking to boost air safety in Africa, by organising a series workshops and fine-tuning in-air flight separation regulations.

“The foundation for a much safer and efficient air transport system throughout Africa has been laid,” ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh González told 281 participants from 19 African States and four international organisations at a two-week seminar in Addis Ababa.

“With completion of this first seminar and workshop, participating African States are in a much better position to successfully meet the very serious safety challenges that confront the region,” he said.

ICAO State Safety Programme/Safety Management Systems Seminar and Workshop from 22 September to 3 October was first in a planned series of safety-related activities for Africa under Africa-Indian Ocean (AFI) Comprehensive Implementation Programme.

Overall objective of programme is to enhance aviation safety through increased cooperative efforts by government and global industry stakeholders, under leadership of ICAO, to effectively address deficiencies identified through Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme.

Conference participants were introduced to recognised safety management concept – with its supporting programmes for service providers, including airlines, air traffic services and airports, and for civil aviation authorities – as a predictive approach to safety.

According to ICAO analysis, traditional safety strategies and initiatives focused on the outcomes of accidents and regulatory solutions to specific technical problems have begun to stall, saying in a related move, ICAO has halved minimum vertical distance between aircraft in AFI airspace, resulting in more efficient flight operations and related benefits for airlines, passengers and the environment.

"The reduction from 2000 to 1000 feet between 29,000 and 41,000 feet, provides access to more efficient cruising levels, leading to less fuel burn with related annual savings for the AFI region of an estimated $85 million," said UN's aviation organisation.

It also stated that adjustment would also result in an annual reduction of 250,000 tons of global warming carbon dioxide and create six additional flight levels, increasing overall efficiency of airspace management, better on-time performance, and fewer delays on the major air traffic routes between Africa and other regions.

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