The US leaves an Aviation Safety Void in Africa and Flight Safety Foundation & AviAssist Foundation enter

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African Aviation- great growth potential but need for improved standards

US’ Safe Skies recently sadly withdrawn

FSF and AviAssist fill a need!!!

US’ Bad Withdrawal From Safe Skies For Africa

FSF, AviAssist to Cooperate on Promoting Aviation Safety in Africa

Pictured above (from left to right) are Ron Louwerse, chairman of the board of the AviAssist Foundation, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, minister of Infrastructure & Water Management, the Netherlands, Margareth Kyarwenda, secretary general of the Association of African Aviation Training Organizations (AATO), Dr. Hassan Shahid, president and CEO of FSF, and Capt. Abdulsalami Mohamed, AATO Council member.


MONTREAL — Flight Safety Foundation and the AviAssist Foundation on Wednesday renewed their long-standing relationship with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) that will see the two organizations work more closely to promote aviation safety in Africa. The MOC was signed on the sidelines of the ICAO 40th Assembly, which got under way here this week.

Under terms of the MOC, the organizations agreed to support each other’s activities broadly, and to work together to improve aviation safety in Africa through a variety of means, including sharing data and information, organizing safety-focused events and executing joint studies and projects.

“We greatly value our partnership with Flight Safety Foundation to build on the successes in African safety and elevate it to the next level,” said Ron Louwerse, chairman of the AviAssist board and managing director of Rotterdam The Hague Airport for the Schiphol Group.

“The Foundation is looking forward to close cooperation with AviAssist. We are both independent and impartial nonprofits focused exclusively on aviation safety, so working together on a common goal makes a lot of sense,” said Foundation President and CEO Dr. Hassan Shahidi. “Aviation safety in Africa is making significant strides and we think we can contribute to that success story.”

Flight Safety is well known; here is more about AVIASSIST:





The AviAssist Foundation is the only independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting professionalism in African aviation safety. Our mission is to provide effective and affordable safety support to the African aviation industry. Impartial & independent.

We provide our safety guidance & resources through training courses, social media and Africa’s only dedicated safety promotion magazine – SafetyFocus. On top of that,our Safety in African Aviation conference provides Africa’s only neutral ground for competitors and regulators to meet and address safety issues.

Our services include:

Conducting safety improvement gap analysis & producing programs to help close those gaps

Making best aviation safety practices available to African professionals

Communicate effectively about aviation safety (incl. distribution of SafetyFocus – Africa’s dedicated safety magazine)

Training and support programs to improve aviation safety

Provide expertise & advice to organisations providing safety support to the region

Enabling aviation organisations globally to deploy safety expertise as part of their corporate social responsibility programs


Capt. Auke Dros –  Auke joined KLM in 1992 and currently holds the position of Chief Pilot of KLM’s Airbus 330 fleet, the KLM fleet that flies into many African destinations


Jan van der Hoeven – Jan holds the position of board treasurer. Jan has 30 years of experience in the area of IT Services finances and management. A good part of those years was spent in management positions with the world’s fourth-largest information technology company by revenue, with responsibilities for financial management running throughout his career.


Bert Kraan – Bert started his career in the Royal Netherlands Navy. After moving to civil aviation, Bert worked in many aviation safety roles ranging from head of flight operations and Deputy director Civil Aviation Authority Netherlands (rtd.) to Member of the ICAO Air Navigation Commission and ICAO Council representative.


Frank van de Laar – Frank has worked more than 12 years for the KLM Group as General Manager and Marketing Director and Revenue Manager and in other challenging roles. With his private pilot background and passion for aviation, flying and technology, as well as his role a Simulator Test Pilot for a manufacturer of level-D flight simulators, Frank serves as marketing and sales director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at flight simulator manufacturer Wright Brothers in the Netherlands.

Ron Louwerse – Ron started his career in the Netherlands police. From there he entered the airport security world and joined Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. From security he moved to become the director safety, security & environment. He currently is Managing director of Rotterdam The Hague Airport, an airport that is part of the Schiphol Group.


Hellen Ndichu – Hellen currently holds the position of director safety with Rwandair, an IATA airline operating from Rwanda.


Ron Schipper – Ron served as Non-Executive Director of Kenya Airways for many years. He joined KLM in 1969. He worked in various management positions until 1977. He was appointed Manager of the Cabin Crew Training Department at Schiphol in the same year. He left the Netherlands in 1980 for his first of many postings abroad including Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. He was KLM’s Vice President and Area Manager Africa based in Johannesburg from 1994 and a board member of Kenya Airways and Precision Air.


The staff of the Foundation has over 30 years of combined experience in African aviation safety support.


Tom Kok – Director






Marily Heyster – Senior program manager (part time, Dubai based)






Michelle Bruggeman – Communications & copywriting (volunteer, Netherlands based)






Felicien Izaturwanaho – trainee (Rwanda Based)




The Foundation’s sole purpose is to provide impartial, independent, expert safety guidance and resources for the African aviation industry. Our mission is to provide effective and affordable safety support to African aviation professionals.


We provide our safety guidance & resources through training courses, social media and Africa’s only dedicated safety promotion magazine – SafetyFocus. On top of that, our Safety in African Aviation conference provides Africa’s only neutral ground for competitors and regulators to meet and address safety issues.

For our course catalogue, please click here.


As a nonprofit organisation, the AviAssist Foundation relies on contracts and support from governments, corporations and foundations as well as fees for services. It:

Promotes professionalism in African aviation safety

Assists in meaningful African exposure towards accessing a growth market and

Creates goodwill for its partners

The Foundation aligns its programs and activities with the safety targets of the ICAO Regional Aviation Safety Group (RASG) for Africa (AFI). More information about the work of the RASG-AFI can be found by clicking here.


The programs of the Foundation are based on its annual plan but the agenda certainly also leaves room to craft tailor made programs in line with your organisation’s prime need, skills & resources.




Selected past and present clients & partners include:

Airports Council International ACI

ADSE Consulting & Engineering

Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation CANSO

Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency CASSOA

Department of Civil Aviation – Zambia


European Commission Delegation in Zambia

European Commission Delegation in Rwanda

European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)


Kenya Airports Authority

Kenya Airways

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

NAC2000 Zambia

Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment

Uganda Civil Aviation Authority

Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority



Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority

Tanzania Airports Authority

Turkish Airlines

Zambia Airports Corporation Ltd.

Programs & events


  1. SafetyFocus magazine – Promoting professionalism in African aviation safety

The AviAssist Foundation works hard to put tools and information directly in the hands of the professionals who need them. It’s true that more and more safety information can be found on the internet. However, safety promotion in Africa cannot yet fully rely on the internet. Many times we find that the people who do the real work, have limited or unreliable access to the internet. African professionals need safety information that they can hold in their hand. Access to safety information should not be limited by the bandwidth of your connection or your ability to pay. By reaching out for industry support in the form of advertising, we can make the magazine available largely for free – contact us to discuss how to combine your marketing with goodwill creation in the African market. With SafetyFocus, we provide professionals working in or with Africa aviation safety with vital and timely safety information.

Click here for a leaflet on our SafetyFocus magazine


  1. AviAssist Safety Promotion Centres (ASPC)

The ASPCs are a series of three centres planned in strategic locations throughout Africa. The ASPC-Rwanda is the first of the three. It is an initiative by the AviAssist Foundation to create East Africa’s leading resource centre for safety promotion. The partners are creating a space where people enjoy learning about aviation safety and get equipped to champion it. It supports technical skills, address human factors and develop organizational & business skills for the current and next generations of aviation professionals. The ASPC-Rwanda embraces and balances both industry and government interests. An approach in which industry and government interests are balanced in safety improvement efforts has been central to the success of safety initiatives around the world. The ASPC-Rwanda is open to anyone who wishes to use its resources and is a non-profit venture. Founding partners include the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, RwandAir, the University of Tourism, Technology & Business Studies (UTB) of Rwanda & the Aviation Academy of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. For more information, click here for a brochure.


  1. Airport Rescue & Fire Fighting program

In support of ICAO audit findings throughout the region, the Foundation has commenced a combined ab-initio/refresher trainng program. The program is foreseen to run at least one 1 week training in East and Southern Africa each year, with October 2011 seeing the first training. Its sustainability will be strengthened through a twinning program with airport fire brigades from airports elsewhere in the world as well as a Foundation moderated internet user group. More information in this leaflet.


  1. Runway & Airside safety support program

With the Runway & Airside Safety program, AviAssist continues support to global prioritisation of runway and airside safety improvements. This program is implemented in cooperation with the ICAO Regional Office in Nairobi, the Airports Council International (ACI) and members of the Netherlands Airports Association. More information on the program in this leaflet.


  1. Aviation English

Insufficient English language proficiency on the part of the flight crew, air traffic controllers and other aviation professionals has contributed to a number of accidents and serious incidents. Some years ago, ICAO introduced language proficiency requirements for air traffic controllers and pilots with the aim to improve their language skills and to reduce the frequency of communication errors. However, despite the ICAO standards clearly requesting states to ensure that adequate training programs on this subject are implemented, a major lack of training opportunities continues to exist in the Foundation’s target countries. For more information on this course, click here for a brochure.

  1. Airport wildlife management program

The Foundation runs a support program on lowering risks of wildlife dangers to aviation. Bird strikes are the most notable of those. The program focuses on East Africa. The program includes regular training courses on the subject in the region.


  1. Aeronautical Information Services/Management

In support of the implementation of the ICAO Roadmap from AIS to AIM, the Foundation runs regular training courses on this subject to support phase 1 of the ICAO Roadmap. The sustainability of the training programs will be strengthened through  a Foundation moderated internet user group. More information in this leaflet.


  1. Safety Management Systems training

This program provides personnel responsible for planning, directing or managing aviation safety programs and supervisors who are required to supervise an accident prevention/risk management program with financially accessible introductory skills needed to set up a safety management system.  The Foundation’s introductory SMS course is fully based on ICAO SMS course, enriched with best practices from among others Australia & Royal Dutch Shell’s hearts and minds toolkit. It’s a great and very affordable course to have your whole organization exposed to SMS (and not just the ‘usual suspects’ such as flight operations inspectors or pilots).


  1. Data driven safety management program

Data driven safety management has not yet influenced operations in Africa.  This program will assist the start and strengthening of a practice of data driven safety management. That will allow AFI carriers to draw valuable lessons from occurring incidents and as a result prevent accidents, translating in the reduction of accident rates in the Region. The program is being developed in co-operation with one of the Foundation’s corporate partners – ADSE Consulting and Engineering.


  1. Aviation leadership development program

The African aviation industry is currently facing a large exodus of well trained professionals and leaders from just after most countries gained independence. Those professionals are now retiring from the industry. Well-honed leadership skills will help (future) aviation leaders lead the direction of an organisation rather than simply managing existing operations

In the aviation industry, short and longer courses almost always primarily focus on the technical skills. The support to professional development has not kept pace with the evolution of safety thinking. Currently, very few professional development programs are available to equip (future) leaders and safety champions with the administrative and organisational skills to improve the effective implementation of ICAO SARPs. With this program, the AviAssist Foundation will start changing that for Africa. The program is based on a leadership development program developed by the US Transportation Research Board.

For more information, click here

  1. Assist in accurate reporting on African aviation safety issues

The Foundation talks to the news media and helps them be accurate in their aviation safety stories related to Africa. It includes leading African news organisations in its efforts and has worked with global news agencies and organisations such as ABCAustralian Broadcasting CorporationVoice of AmericaBBC Worldservice, Bloomberg and Aljazeera English.


  1. African aviator award

With its African aviator award, the AviAssist Foundation singles out individuals, organizations or teams that have made especially outstanding contributions to risk reduction, often during long periods or entire careers and award the African aviator award. Each year of awarding, the AviAssist Foundation will select a particular aviation profession as the focus for the award. The awarding event will take place in front of a distinguished audience of industry leaders at a major aviation event in the African region. For the 2014 edition of the award, the Foundation partnered with the Airports Council International (ACI).


Regular Services


  1. Making “best practices” accessible to aviation safety professionals

The Foundation will use all means available (e.g. quartely SafetyFocus magazine, courses, seminars, conferences and website)to share “best practices” amongst the professional African aviation community.


  1. Sensitise African Governments on international aviation requirements

A common misunderstanding in the aviation community is that African governments are very well aware of the international regulatory requirements on aviation safety. It is often unclear to political key players outside the aviation world what the international obligations of a state are. These political key players outside the aviation world do not necessarily know that ICAO is one of the few UN affiliated bodies that actually issues binding safety regulations. Equally, they may not be aware of increasing international pressure from for example blacklisting. As a result of that, the Directors of Civil Aviation (authorities) in many African governments have to struggle with a Cabinet and a Parliament that do not necessarily have aviation (safety) high on their list of priorities. To support their cause, the Foundation will issue a number of leaflets that may assist aviation administrations of ESAF countries in sensitising non-aviation members of government. The Foundation will start building a database of relevant contacts which it will target with such communications.


  1. Widely advocate relevance of aviation safety for general economic development

To continue the breakdown of the traditional silo’s of aviation, tourism and general economic development, the Foundation will sensitise foreign diplomatic missions in the ESAF region on the relevance of aviation safety to general economic development. Also, it will sensitise other relevant organisations, such as development organisations and Ministries of Foreign Affairs of countries with co-operative programs in the ESAF region. To that end, the Foundation will continue building a database of relevant contacts which it will target with regular communications.















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