What is IATA's Collaborative Aviation Safety Improvement Program?

May 14, 2024
Part of the Focus Africa initiative, IATA launched the Collaborative Aviation Safety Improvement Program to reduce the accident and serious incident rate across the continent.

The Collaborative Aviation Safety Improvement Program (CASIP) was launched by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) under the Focus Africa Safety Pillar. It was designed to reduce the accident and serious incident rate across the continent, as part of the Focus Africa initiative during the Focus Africa Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in June 2023.

“CASIP brings together global experts working under framework of trust cooperation and collaboration to deliver safety enhancement across the region so performance can be within regional safety standards,” officials at IATA explain.

According to IATA representatives, CASIP was launched to create a collaborative and harmonized industry-led partnership program, to pool resources and expertise, and to cooperate and complement the delivery of prioritized improvement areas.

“The objectives are the reduction of accidents and serious incidents, identifying deficiencies and drawing mitigation measures, the provision of appropriate training and delivering safety improvement through a data-driven approach,” IATA officials say.

Together, CASIP partners will prioritize the most pressing safety concerns on the continent and rally the resources needed to address them, according to IATA.

“The benefits of improving aviation safety in Africa will be spread across the economies and societies of the continent. The starting point for safety improvement is the effective use of global standards for safety. At government level, a key indicator is effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS),” IATA officials affirm. “Data for the year 2022 reveals considerable room for improvement with only 28 of 54 African states reaching an effective implementation rate for ICAO SARPS of 60 percent or higher.”

In parallel, CASIP partners will identify fundamental deficiencies in operational safety and implement corrective action plans, provide safety training and workshops continent wide as well as promote a data-driven approach to safety performance with emphasis on making safety data available to decision-makers and ensuring efficient accident/incident reporting, explain officials at IATA.

For the first time, IATA’s Safety Issue Review Meeting (SIRM) has been brought to the continent of Africa, under the framework of CASIP.

The SIRM for Africa is intended to be delivered twice per year ensuring the scope of the continent can be covered suitably, according to IATA.

“During the first SIRM – which is one of the three core CASIP workstream activities together with operational safety and training, capacity building and monitoring – ‘ground’ was introduced as one of the areas for focus as it is often not the first to be prioritized,” explain representatives of IATA.

The first SIRM in Africa was delivered in October 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. During the event, it was noted that the post-pandemic period has challenged the aviation industry in numerous ways, none more so than the ground operations domain, according to IATA.

“The demands of the industry and the consumer further challenge the resilience of the workforce, placing further pressure on a fragile system,” affirm IATA officials. “So how do we ensure that this critical component in the aviation chain provides and implements the safeguards so required by the industry? This was the question that was explored by one operator in how to support and evolve the risk management principles within this domain. The airline had a goal, which was ‘to objectively elevate ground safety to an equal footing with flight safety.’”

The airlines should be applauded for taking the lead in the matters of driving safety improvement in the ground operations domain, IATA officials note.

“Understandably, the results will not be immediate, but the short-term wins will no doubt lead to greater long-term success, and we look forward to updates on the progress at future meetings,” they say.

CASIP launched with 12 initial partners.

“The CASIP framework was drafted and published in June 2023 with three core workstreams introduced to the program initially,” IATA officials explain. “All workstreams have been established, with initial priorities for 2024 agreed upon, and work programs being developed and delivered.”

Ground handling was included on the agenda of the 2024 SIRM/CASIP meeting in Dakar, Senegal, this spring.

According to IATA, the first SIRM of 2024 planned to focus on Western Africa and discuss a wide variety of safety topics across a diverse spectrum including prioritizing runway safety in the region, air traffic management, establishing regional fixed and mobile air/ground communication footprint, current safety nets, and progress towards regional improvements, cabin operations training, and promoting safety leadership within the region.

About the Author

Mario Pierobon

Dr. Mario Pierobon provides solutions in the areas of documentation, training and consulting to organizations operating in safety-sensitive industries. He has conducted a doctoral research project investigating aircraft ground handling safety. He may be reached at [email protected].