Home » Aviation: South Africa Records 97 Small Aircraft Accidents with 13 Fatalities in Current Financial Year as Minister Chikunga Unveils Safety Strategies to Enhance Aviation Security

Aviation: South Africa Records 97 Small Aircraft Accidents with 13 Fatalities in Current Financial Year as Minister Chikunga Unveils Safety Strategies to Enhance Aviation Security

by Atqnews
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Sindisiwe Chikunga

Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga has announced that the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has implemented various safety strategies aimed at reducing aviation accidents and fatalities in the country.

According to citizen.co.za, speaking during a media briefing on Tuesday, Chikunga provided insights into the current state of the aviation industry, emphasizing the government’s commitment to enhancing safety measures within the sector.

According to Chikunga, South Africa has recorded 97 small aircraft accidents to date in the current financial year, projected to be marginally lower than the previous reporting period.

READ: Aviation: Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM) Will Create A Better Opportunity For African Airlines Than Non-African Airlines, Says Lemma Yadecha Gudeta, GCCO, Ethiopian Airlines

However, the number of fatalities has increased to 13, which is four more than reported in the 2022/2023 financial year.

“To curb these accidents which happen in a non-scheduled flying space, the Sacaa has developed and implemented a general aviation safety strategy in consultation with the industry, where we are employing reputable safety strategies to attain reduction in both categories; accidents and fatalities,” she said.

READ: Aviation: Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM) Will Create A Better Opportunity For African Airlines Than Non-African Airlines, Says Lemma Yadecha Gudeta, GCCO, Ethiopian Airlines

Past accidents
At the end of the previous 2022/23 financial year, the number of accidents had decreased from 147 to 113 accidents, which translated into a 23% decrease from the 2021/2022 period.

The fatal accidents decreased from 12 to 9, translating into a 25% decrease.

“I was concerned when we had an accident spike during the 2021/2022 period in the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, partly due to pilots being out of practice caused by a lack of refresher training during the hard lockdown period of the pandemic,” Chikunga said.

According to Chikunga, the commercial airlines sector has maintained a zero fatal accident rate for four decades and aims to continue this record in the future.

“One of the current administration’s strategic targets is to reduce accidents in the general aviation sector by 50%.”

Security audits
“The past two to three years have been the busiest period for the civil aviation sector as South Africa participated in four key international safety and security audits and assessments by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),” said Chikunga.

ICAO rated South Africa’s safety oversight system at 91.11%, placing the country first in Africa and number 18 in the world, alongside Norway.

The aviation organisation also did not raise any significant safety and security concerns in both the safety and security audits, which happened within eight months of each other, she said.

“The US Federal Administration recognised South Africa’s safety oversight system as meeting ICAO’s safety standard and recommended practices and confirmed that South Africa retains its category 1 status with the standards of the United States international oversight safety audit programme.”

This as the Transport Security Administration granted South Africa’s cargo security system permanent recognition following a Sacaa assessment.

South Africa also still holds the EU recognition for the States cargo security system.

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