Staff retention remains a challenge
The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) disclosed that it has scored high grade in an international aviation audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
ICAO, the UN body charged with regulating the global aviation industry, regularly audits its 193 member states aviation authorities to ensure aviation safety all across the globe.
Accordingly, a team of ICAO experts has been auditing the ECAA that regulates the aviation industry in Ethiopia.
At a press conference held on Friday January 31 Shimeles Kebreab, deputy director general, air navigation, said that ECAA scored a record high grade of 91.78 point. “This is the highest score that we attained and it is the highest grade in Africa,” Shimeles said. “This means that the national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, can fly to anywhere in the world. We should all be proud of this remarkable result,” Shimeles said.
Ghana scored 89, Egypt 87 and South Africa 84 in similar audit conducted by ICAO. In the first ICAO audit in 2006 ECAA scored 65 points above the global average which was 60 at that time. In 2015 ECAA scored 67 points and in 2018 73.2.
The ICAO mission made the evaluation on directorates of aviation personnel and training organization certificate, air operator certificate and surveillance, aircraft registration and air worthiness certification, air navigation regulation, aerodrome safety and standards, accident investigation and support staff of the authority, it was learnt.
The ICAO has been following up the performance of ECAA online and recently sent a team of experts that physically conducted the audit at the head office of the authority in Addis Ababa.
The ICAO team of experts has also inspected Ethiopian Airlines and private operators.
“The national airline is growing fast. It has more than 106 modern aircraft. It operates to more than 120 destinations. And we should be able to inspect all these modern aircraft. That is why ICAO’s audit on ECAA is very tough,” Shimeles said.
Staff retention has become a serious challenge for ECAA. According to Shimeles, aviation experts of ECAA are leaving the Authority in search of better pay. “Highly trained personnel are leaving us and retaining the professionals with the existing salary scale is a pressing challenge,” he said.
Ethiopia is one of the signatory countries of the Chicago Convection that culminated the establishment of the ICAO. In the last 75 years ECAA has been working to promote and maintain a safe and reliable air transport in the country. ECAA inspects Ethiopian Airlines and private operators. It provides air navigation service for local and international airlines. The authority also licenses pilots, aircraft technicians and cabin crew. It inspects aircraft and confer air worthiness certificates.
The House of People’s Representatives this week endorsed a new aviation proclamation. Endeshaw Yigezu, Air Transport and Planning Director at ECAA, said the new aviation law would enhance the participation of the private sector in the aviation industry. According to Endeshaw, currently, there are eight private operators and two private aviation training schools. There are two aviation consultants and 20 companies engaged in flight facilitation. “As aviation industry is capital intensive the participation of the private sector is limited,” Endeshaw said.