Monday, 11 June 2012

Kenya chopper crash and others raise Africa’s air safety questions

 The Kenya helicopter crash, in which two ministers were among the victims, raises fresh questions on air safety in the region and on continent. This is of course putting the speculation aside given that the Ngong forest crash comes months to a presidential election and 4 years since a similar crash killed other Kenyan politicians.

The Ngong crash follows recent deadly plane crashes in Ghana and Nigeria. So, in less than 14 days at least three plane crashes have occurred on the continent. The crashes in Ghana and Nigeria left over 160 people dead.

Before the Ngong crash there had been a mishap at the Jomo Kinyatta International airport involving an Egyptian carrier; which led to diversion of air traffic to Entebbe and Dares-salaam. Although investigations in the cause of the Ngong forest crash are ongoing, taking precautionary measures on ensuring better air safety measures could save lives in future.

Western countries especially those in the European Union have blacklisted 279 carriers from 21 states, 14 of which are African, where aviation safety remains the worst in the world.
In the past, it has been DR Congo with major issues of air safety but it seems the disease is spreading across the region and urgent efforts must be made to save the situation. The International Air Transport Association says African aviation safety improved from 2010 to last year, but the continent’s accident rate is still the worst in the world.

By Mubatsi Asinja Habati

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