Aviation Symposium in Commemoration of EAC 10th Anniversary Opens in Arusha

Arusha, Tanzania; 22 October 2009: A one-day Aviation Symposium themed; Aviation- Linking EAC and the World Safely and Efficiently opened today at the Naura Springs Hotel in Arusha Tanzania. The East African Community Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA) in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat and Partner States Civil Aviation Authorities are hosting the symposium.

The symposium, which is being held as part of the many activities commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the East African Community, was officially opened by the Deputy Minister for East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Mohammed Aboud.

Hon. Aboud challenged the symposium participants to identify strategies for building, in a sustainable manner, a compliant and competitive aviation industry in the East African region. He said the issues to be addressed by the symposium should form part of the strategic planning in the next EAC Five Year Development Strategy.

Hon. Aboud urged participants to critically examine the challenges hindering the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration/Decision which was adopted 20 years ago as policy guidance in the development and operation of civil aviation in Africa. He said symposium should examine these challenges with the view to proposing the best way forward to achieve the liberalization of air transport services in the EAC.

The Deputy Minister disclosed that one of the challenges of the region is meeting the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety strategic objectives which have set a target that by 2012 no one region should have accident rates more than twice the global average by end of 2011. He said based on 2003 -2007 statistics, Africa air accident rates stood at 4.5% while global average was 0.5%.

The minister said that during that period, Africa for the first time in history statistically witnessed a decreasing accident rate which he said needed to be sustained for the remaining three years if Africa was to meet the ICAO target.

Hon. Aboud challenged the technocrats in the aviation industry to develop regional statistics representing the various sub-regional and individual state initiatives in regard to the civil aviation safety.

The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Mr. Alloys Mutabingwa affirmed that the aspiration of the region for civil aviation is to ensure that the region implements in a sustainable way the international standards developed by ICAO and that the region achieves Category 1 of the USA FAA International Air Safety Assessment Programme.

Mr. Mutabingwa noted that by implementing the international standards, the region’s operators will not be challenged, based on non-compliance, to access markets in the USA, Europe as well as anywhere in the world where safety compliance may be strictly required for authorization of operations. He said “this will also help to create conducive environment for attracting investment in the region in aviation as well as in other areas of production and business”.

The EAC Deputy Secretary General reiterated that in line with this vision and based on the outcome of the ICAO safety/security audits and global aviation safety roadmap gap analyses in the Partner States, the region was developing a Strategic Plan which will guide CASSOA in the next five years to ensure “we have an effective and sustainable civil aviation oversight system in the region and reducing the incidents and accidents by the region embracing the implementation of a safety management system by the operators”.

Other dignitaries in attendance at the symposium included; Mr. Charles Wako, President of African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC); Mr. Omari Nundu, President of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Navigation Commission; Col (Rtd) Hillary Kioko, Chairperson of the CASSOA Board; Mrs Mwanyagi, Chairperson of Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority; and Mr Mtesigwa Maugo, the Executive Director of CASSOA. The symposium brought together over 100 civil aviation stakeholders from the region, ICAO, SADC, France, UK and USA.