(eTN) – Information was received from aviation sources in Nairobi that the African Airline Association (AFRAA) has stepped up their opposition against the European Union’s (EU) aviation blacklist, which they claim now covers over a quarter of all African countries and airlines. AFRAA in particular cited the safety record of LAM Mozambique, which has, since its formation, according the details available from AFRAA, not suffered even one accident, but the EU had nevertheless put the airline on the list over maintenance concerns for their long distance fleet of B 767s. It could not be independently verified where LAM is having their heavy maintenance for their Boeings carried out, and whether that organization has approvals to carry out heavy maintenance from other countries, too, applying strict safety standards along the lines of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
A known source in Brussels, previously asked on the matter, had then stated that “better safe than sorry” must have been a reason for the blacklisting, but would also not go into details regarding what specific reasons were cited about “maintenance concerns” of the LAM fleet.
The EU bashing by AFRAA will, of course, draw applause from affected airlines and countries, but the organization in a turnabout of sorts also urged member airlines to substantially improve their aviation safety standards and measures employed, especially the aviation oversight functions by regulators who often lack competent personnel or sufficient competent personnel to carry out such regulatory tasks, in the process then giving rise to suggestions by the EU that ALL of African aviation and regulatory oversight is lacking.
This clearly is not the case as the success of airlines like South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, RwandAir, or closer to home Kenya Airways or Air Uganda demonstrate. Still, African aviation has many challenges ahead, like the renewal of ageing fleets for many airlines, the training of and retention through adequate terms of service of regulatory personnel, and the intensified cooperation of countries and airlines in need to improvements with those who already excel on the continent.