ICAO taps CAAi to boost Sierra Leone safety oversight

CAA International (CAAi), the technical cooperation arm of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA), is to assist the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA) to strengthen its regulatory oversight capability.

Financed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) SAFE Fund, CAAi will help the SLCAA resolve its safety-related deficiencies in several target areas including, air navigation services, aerodromes and ground aids. The project will also optimise the organisational design of SLCAA to improve its oversight effectiveness.

Sierra Leone is currently ranked 43rd out of 46 countries in the Regional Aviation Safety Group for Africa and India Ocean for its effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices. This project will work to increase effective implementation in the target areas identified, reaching closer to the Abuja safety target of 60 per cent.

During an event held last month in Freetown to launch the project, SLCAA director general Moses Tiffa Baio thanked ICAO and CAAi for its support, saying the ICAO’s Safe Fund is essential to the development of the air transport sector in Sierra Leone.

At the event, Mattijs Smith, international development lead for CAAi said, “Aviation is an important factor in economic development. Working together, we can build a stronger regulatory framework that will facilitate the projected growth of air traffic in the years to come for Sierra Leone.”

The first phase of this project will establish an ICAO compliant safety oversight system. Active regulators from the UK CAA will work with their Sierra Leone counterparts to update the ICAO audit corrective action plan. Experts will then review the legal and regulatory frameworks, establish a training framework for inspectorate staff, create an autonomous organisational structure and design new safety oversight procedures and technical, guidance materials for certification, licensing and regulator surveillance activities. The second phase of the programme will focus on implementation and updating the ICAO CMA Online Framework.

Maria Rueda, managing director at CAAi said: “With an extra 274 million passengers a year predicted for the aviation market in Africa by 2036[i], Sierra Leone needs a solid, ICAO compliant regulatory framework to oversee a growing air transport sector safety. We are fully committed to supporting the Sierra Leone CAA, and we look forward to working SLCAA and ICAO on this important project.”

The project commenced in May 2019 and is expected to last 18 weeks.