Monday, February 4, 2013

■ ZAMBIA: Resolution of Significant Safety Concern takes Zambia one step closer to being removed from ICAO & EU blacklists.

ZambiaFollowing the resolution of what the International Civil Aviation Organization termed "a Significant Safety Concern", Zambia has taken a crucial step towards being struck off the ICAO's Safety Watch List, with removal from the EU's No-Fly List now a distinct possibility.

Lusaka International Airport
Zambia was added to both black lists in 2009 after a Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) conducted on the Zambian Civil Aviation Sector by the ICAO uncovered ninety-eight (98) findings and one significant safety concern (SSC). The significant safety concern was as a result of non compliance to the five phase air operator certification process which ICAO had introduced to ensure that operators applying for air service permits complied with international safety requirements.

In a statement, Zambia's Minister for Transport, Works & Communications, Christopher Yaluma, said that since then, the Zambian Department of Civil Aviation has been engaged with the ICAO in developing  corrective action plans needed to address the findings and the significant safety concern. 

After an ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM), held from the 12th to 18th December 2012, the ICAO reported in early January that  that the Significant Safety Concern had been resolved paving the way for the removal of Zambia from the ICAO Safety Watch list and subsequently from the EU Ban List. The European Union, however, has its own distinct requirements, procedures and processes that are separate to the ICAO's regarding the removal of airlines and safety oversight agencies from their Ban List.

As a result, the Zambian Government will now be able to engage the European Union over the possible removal of the EU Ban. Zambian operator Proflight Zambia (P0) was granted their Aircraft Operational Certificate (AOC) by the Zambian Department of Civil Aviation after the airline underwent a 42-day audit during which a team of three inspectors from ICAO and four from Zambia’s department of civil aviation shadowed the operations of the airline.

Under an EU sponsored initiative, Zambia has set up the necessary foundations for the:
  • Upgrade of the Aviation Legal, Institutional and Organisational framework,
  • Implementation of Training, Visibility and Communication Activities
  • Enhancement of safety and security oversight capacity of Zambia DCA or new Civil Aviation Authority
  • Provision of support to the Contracting Authority (Ministry of Finance) by purchasing some relevant dedicated equipment for the main sector stakeholders. (Department of Civil Aviation, National Airports Corporation Limited and Zambia Air Services Training Institute);
  • Global Management
In 2012, Zambia's Civil Aviation Authority Act, came into being setting the scene for the transformation of the Department of Civil Aviation into an autonomous Zambia Civil Aviation Authority.

Should Zambia's bid to be removed from the EU's No Fly Black List be successful, it would be the second African nation after Mauritania, who were removed in December.