African Aviation Safety Deficiencies create TDA program to bring CAAs to International Standards

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ARTICLE: 130 African air operators banned from EU

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The aviation trade press seems to publish an article every week about the deficiencies in foreign Civil Aviation Authorities. The EU, ICAO and the FAA audit the ability of sovereigns to administer their airlines and related industries. The findings of these oversight missions consistently determine that these CAAs:

  • have issued standards that do not meet international criteria,
  • have not trained their inspectors with the skills needed to surveil airlines,
  • have established organizations which are not properly aligned to meet their missions,
  • do not have adequate independence from inappropriate political influences,
  • have inadequate staffs or budgets to accomplish their assignment, and
  • other inadequacies.

All too often, the career government employees assigned to these tasks are reluctant to deliver the difficult truths. They feel as though such harsh criticism would insult their peers. The final reports include these general observations, but rarely point to a specific office or individual, for example, that contributes to the failing grade.

Repeated public humiliations have not cured the underlying problems. The list of below-standard CAAs is long and many of the names have been there for more than a few years. It must be assumed that these countries would like to regain acceptance by the FAA, the EU or ICAO, but do not have the internal resources (financial and/or expertise) to reform their CAA.

The global aviation community is growing. Countries which, 10 years ago were in the deficient, are now the home to robust airlines and/or manufacturers. The FAA has an international affairs organization which has, as one of its goals, the “promotion” of FAA standards around the world. The EU – and in particular the French DGAC – has apostles on staff, who are dedicated to proselytize countries on their approach to regulation and maybe sell a few Airbus products coincidentally.

The need to assist these countries in their struggle to define and implement aviation standards that meet international standards would appear to be within the mission of the US State Department’s Trade and Development Administration. Carl B. Kress, Regional Director, Middle East, North Africa and Europe, might consider issuing an RFP for US consultants who could help the CAAs of Africa meet international aviation standards. Several U.S. consultancies are well equipped to support TDA and Mr. Kress in helping create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies.

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