Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling on industry and government leaders in Africa to work together in making aviation a priority. IATA’s director general Tony Tyler said aviation could play an even bigger role in facilitating Africa’s growth and development. Currently the industry supports 6.7 million high quality jobs and business activity totalling some $67.8 billion. “We need a team effort of government and industry focused on improving safety, adopting a coordinated policy approach and implementing global standards,” Mr Tyler said. At the Aviation Days event in Dakar, Senegal, key issues such as safety, regional cooperation and global standards for infrastructure funding were highlighted as needing to be addressed. With the continent experiencing an average of one accident for every 305,000 flights in 2011, safety was the most pressing problem for the aviation industry in Africa. “It should be as safe to travel by air in Africa as it is in any other part of the world,” Tyler said of the figure that was nine times worse than the global average. The director general said the Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan aimed at addressing safety shares the goal to achieve world-class safety levels across Africa by 2015. Key priorities of the plan include adopting and implementing an effective and transparent regulatory oversight system. Focus will be on the implementation of runway safety measures, training on preventing loss of control, implementation of flight data analysis (FDA) and of Safety Management Systems (SMS). In addition to addressing safety issues, Africa faces challenges including inadequate infrastructure, ‘brain drain’ and skills building, finding sources for capital, fleet modernization and building competitiveness, according to Mr Tyler. However the governments of Africa do not see aviation as a priority, as focuses on eliminating poverty, improving health, raising living standards, and generating jobs rank much higher. “My message is not to shift priorities, but to ask governments to see aviation as an economic driver and develop policies to support that important role,” Mr Tyler concluded.