Which are the Safest Airlines in Africa?

How safe are African Airlines? When the EU blacklist came out, the African Airlines Association was up in arms. Nick Fadugba,AFRAA Secretary General described the ban as “undermining international confidence in African aviation “ making   European carriers the “ultimate beneficiaries” who will dominate the African skies to the disadvantage of African carriers!

With 111 carriers from 13 African countries banned, the list does indeed undermine African aviation; travellers will obviously consider flying major carriers like KLM/AF or Lufthansa at the expense of the ‘unsafe’ African carriers! The list was particularly ruthless with African airlines. So what criteria did the EU use to issue its unilateral verdict? It crystallises into 3 major points:
  •         Use of poorly maintained, obsolete aircraft(Criteria used to ban most African airlines with old soviet era fleet)
  •          Inability of airlines to rectify shortcomings identified during inspections by EU Air Safety Committee.
  •         Inability of a civil aviation authority responsible for overseeing an airline to perform its task properly(Criteria was used to ban all airlines from Sudan, Iran)
African airlines face safety challenges due to poor infrastructure; lack of capacity, poor oversight and policies and unhealthy finances that impede rapid fleet modernization.Also, according to David Learmount, Flight International Operations and Safety Editor, African airlines do not have the “luxury of a safety culture“ since less developed countries tend to have less emphasis on a strong safety culture in the airline operations!Africa aviation is often associated with the "Flying Coffins",old Soviet era Antonov aircraft with notorious safety records!
An Antonov 225

In spite of the challenges, several African airlines have earned IATA’s IOSA Certification, a global standard for airline safety management. We have compiled a list of top 10 safest African airlines based on
whether the airline is IOSA or ISAGO Certified(As IATA CEO Giovanni Bisignani once advised African aviation stakeholders, “being in the IOSA is a strong argument that you have met the highest standards in safety”); number of serious incidents or accidents since 2000,no of deaths for every a hundred thousand departures.
  Here are our Top 10 safest Airlines in Africa:
            1.South African Airways
            2.Ethiopian Airlines
            3.Air Botswana
            4.Air Mauritius
            5.Air Seychelles
            6.Kenya Airways
            8.Royal Air Maroc
            9.Nigerian Eagle Airlines
            10.Air Zimbabwe 

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7 Responses
  1. Jo Gillespie Says:

    IOSA is a standard measured at a single point in time and like all quality based processes only confirms that the standard appears to be met on paper. Not a criticism - IOSA is an important tool - but a valid observation. LOSA on the other hand looks directly at the way aircraft are operated by the line crews and is far more likely to promote continuous improvement in safety. Sadly one of the airlines on the list above recently lost an aircraft with all on board.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    In the last 8 years, I have made 32 trips on Afriquiyah Airways, the last was in May this year. I never noticed faliure of safety.

    Are they considered unsafe because of their ill-fated Airbus Flight 771 crash just before landing at Tripoli Airport? Or is their other reasons?


  3. Anonymous Says:

    I prefer to use tunusair in my trips.

    just , Gsm usage during to landing is became a use to. and all african flights are l'ke this

    i advice to cabin crew to deal about it more..

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Any aircraft is unsafe if not maintained to manufacturers specified standards. Blaming Antonov for the maintenance failings of their customers is not on.

    Just as this ageism culture that is being brought in by certain countries breaking Article 33 of the Chicago Convention.

    What's happening is that countries are letting national pride get in the way of safety. If you don't have enough people to handle safety oversight say so. I'm sure the more well off countries would be able to help. There are several countries that hire in outside help from the UK CAA and I'm sure there are plenty that use the FAA, Transport Canada, CAA Australia and New Zealand.

    The idea that if you cannot oversee aging aircraft is to ban them even when they are operating under EASA registrations is ludicrous. If you can't oversee a 25 year old aircraft can you really say you can oversee a 14 year old aircraft.

    Problem is governments get up on their High "its the former colonial master fault" Horse. There is no shame in not having enough qualified personnel so accept that and look for other solutions.

    Nigeria has a 20 year exclusion rule for any aircraft even if its EU, USA but it can be waived for a "Presidential Decree". India has a 15 year rule.

    Article 33 of the Chicago Convention states that:

    Recognition of certificates and licenses

    Certificates of airworthiness and certificates of competency and licenses issued or rendered valid by the contracting State in which the
    aircraft is registered, shall be recognized as valid by the other contracting States, provided that the requirements under which such certificates or licenses were issued or rendered valid are equal to or above the minimum standards which may be established from time to time pursuant to this Convention.

    It probably does the same for Article 38 and 55.

    Article 38

    Departure from International Standards and Procedures

    Any State which finds it impracticable to comply in all respects with any such international standard or procedure, or to bring its own regulations or practices into full accord with any international standard or procedure after amendment of the latter, or which deems it necessary to adopt regulations or practices differing in any particular respect from those established by an international standard, shall
    give immediate notification to the International Civil Aviation Organization of the differences between its own practice and that established by the international standard. In the case of amendments to international standards, any State which does not make the appropriate amendments to its own regulations or practices shall give notice to the Council within sixty days of the adoption of the amendment to the international standard, or indicate the action which it proposes to take. In any such case, the Council shall make immediate notification to all other states of the difference which exists between one or more features of an international standard and the corresponding national practice of that State.

    Article 55


    Investigate, at the request of any contracting State, any situation which may appear to present avoidable obstacles to the development of international air navigation; and, after such investigation, issue such reports as may appear to it desirable.

    All ICAO countries signed up for this convention so why keep breaking the rules.

    Did you know that if India's idea of 14 years old maximum was implemented in EASA Land the 90% of European carriers would be wiped out overnight.

    Get real people wake up and smell the coffee before you kill it altogether.

    If you can't do it say so and ask for help, I do frequently and it does me no harm so why should it you. Ignore this at your peril, pride goes before the fall!!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    A new source from iJet Intelligent Risk Systems,examines records and practices for many airlines excluded from the EU,FAA and iATA lists.iJet's Worldcue Airline Monitor(WAM) has assembled a dossier on 354 airlines around the world including many smaller and domestic airlines.WAM continuosly collects data about an airline and evaluates that airline against 14 criteria to compile a composite safety rating.Some of the things it evaluates are:fleet composition and age,years of passenger operating experience,maintenance providers,capabilities and certifications,ownership and financial condition,ICAO Certification,IOSA Certification and the famous EU list.You can check it out here http://www.ijet.com/index.asp


  6. Anonymous Says:

    The Secretary General of AFRAA, Mr Folly-Kossi, has his own analysis of the african sky crisis. I was reading this very interesting interview here yesterday: http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/features/ceomagazine/2007/oct/01/ceomagazine-01-10-2007-001.htm. To sum up the subject, Mr Folly-Kossi believes there is an unfair competition marketing against african airline companies. The EU black list contains mostly companies that do not operate in EU sky, or no more exist if they ever existed. Still...Ethiopian and Afriqyah had crashes recently. Statistically, if these latests crashes are ratioed to the total number of flights, we must confess there is room for improvement.

    Eric K. Norman.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    HEY Ethiopian Air LIne should b the number 1 in the list...all its operation is by ethiopians themselves..but syill the no 1 quality air line in the african continenet

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