Cameroon’s aviation safety improves, yet falls short of international targets

Business in Cameroon | Transport Minister Jean Ernest Masséna Ngalle Bibehe issued a statement on April 22 detailing the results of a safety audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) from October 9 to October 20, 2023. The audit, part of the Universal Security Audit Program (USAP), revealed that Cameroon has enhanced its effective implementation rate of the eight crucial elements of the civil aviation safety oversight system. These elements include legislation, civil aviation organizational structure, personnel licensing, aircraft operation, civil aircraft airworthiness, aerodromes, air navigation services, and accident investigations.

The implementation rate in Cameroon increased from 68.80% in 2018 to 78.59% in 2023, marking a 25.44% rise. These results position Cameroon above regional and global averages of 64.6% and 72.4%, respectively. However, they still fall short of ICAO’s target rate of 80%, according to Zakariaou Njoya, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Transport.

In the areas of civil aviation facilitation and security, Cameroon’s compliance rate with Annexes 9 and 17 standards, based on observations at Douala and Yaoundé-Nsimalen international airports, stands at 77.11%. This rate surpasses both regional (66.4%) and global (71%) averages, reflecting the country’s efforts to address deficiencies in security and air navigation sectors.

Paule Assoumou Koki, Director-General of the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA), highlighted significant improvements in security due to stricter measures at airports. These measures include restricted access, passenger and baggage screening, and stringent controls to prevent dangerous objects on board aircraft.

The audit results coincide with Cameroon’s commitment to renovating airport infrastructure. The government has allocated CFA72 billion for the development and rehabilitation of airports in Bertoua (East), Kribi (South), and Tiko (Southwest). Plans for 2024 include continuing the rehabilitation project for Douala Airport, aiming to transform it into a “sub-regional hub,” and intensifying the rehabilitation of the runway at Garoua International Airport in the North region, according to the CCAA.

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