The government through the Ministry of Transport and Communication has successfully established an Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) that will reinforce aviation safety in the country.
Minister of Transport and Communication, Mutotwe Kafwaya disclosed that this is in line with the Chicago Convention on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that requires contracting states to set up an independent board.
Mr Kafwaya said the AAIB management will be in charge of investing into aircraft accidents and serious incidents that may occur within the country.
Speaking during the official inauguration ceremony of the Board of Directors for AAIB, Mr. Kafwaya expressed confidence in the team saying it is a necessary part of government’s efforts to consolidate and fulfil the convention on civil aviation.
“It is gratifying for me and my team that government under the leadership of President Edgar Lungu has demonstrated its commitment to ICAO which is finally coming to fruition as we inaugurate the AAIB today,” Mr Kafwaya stated.
The minister stated that the Board was drawn from an experienced industry of experts hence is hopeful that Zambia will strive to achieve minimal to zero serious incidents in aviation to improve aviation safety.
He implored the board to always ensure that it provides accurate and timely accident and incident reports that will act as a guide in the industry.
The Minister told the board to enhance sustainable operations so that the country continues to comply with its national and international obligations for investigations of aircraft accidents and incidents.
“It is my expectation that through your guidance as board, the aircraft accident investigation board will develop relations with local stakeholders, regional and international bodies,” he added.
Meanwhile, AAIB Chairperson, Alick Sakala requested for a statutory instrument to be established that will guide the board to successfully implement its objectives as well as the prescribed ICAO standards.
Captain Sakala expressed gratitude to government for having confidence in the board to effectively create safety in the aviation industry.
“It is a great honor and privilege to be founder members of the AAIB, and with these we realize it comes with great responsibilities,” he said.
The establishment of the AAIB is in line with the Civil Aviation Act NO. 5 of 2016.
Previously, the functions of the AAIB were temporarily delegated to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as an interim added responsibility.