Kazakhstan boosts compliance with global aviation standards11 may 2016, 19:46
A Significant Safety Concern (SSC) in Kazakhstan has been finally resolved through joint efforts in early May, Tengrinews reports citing the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This leaves no crucial concerns indicated by ICAO for Kazakhstan unresolved,
The now-planished aircraft operations SSC was originally identified during a 2009 ICAO audit of Kazakhstan’s aviation safety oversight capacities, conducted under the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP).
The other critical concern indentified by the audit was an aircraft airworthiness SSC, which a subsequent USOAP Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) in 2014 identified as being satisfactorily resolved.
“Kazakhstan has resolved all the crucial concerns indicated by ICAO,” confirmed Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee in its statement.
“By resolving this matter through coordinated capacity-building, and with support from donor States and International Organizations, ICAO and Kazakhstan have helped to further improve the safety of operations in its territory without any negative impacts on the capacity and efficiency of local air services,” remarked ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu.
The joint was jointly led by ICAO European and North Atlantic (EURNAT) Regional Office and the ICAO Technical Cooperation Bureau under the ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative. It was implemented through a pre-agreed plan developed in conjunction with the Kazakh government and supplemented by training through experts contributed by Portugal, Turkey, Singapore, Ukraine and the ICAO Air Navigation Bureau. Funding for the assistance programme was also collaborative, with contributions coming from Kazakhstan, the ICAO EURNAT Office and the ICAO SAFE Fund.
According to First Vice Minister for Innovations and Development of Kazakhstan Zhenis Kassymbek the July 2009 ICAO audit originally identified “82 concerns, including 2 critical ones".
The audit contained so much criticism that EU aviation authorities put 59 Kazakh airlines, all the county’s airlines except Air Astana, onto the EU “black list” banning their aircraft from making flights to Europe. Most of the airlines are still on the list. But with the progress in Kazakhstan’s compliance with the global aviation safety rules, EU authorities may soon reconsider their ban.
"We are expecting ICAO’s validation of our successful resolution of the concerns to influence the decision of the European Commission’s decision to remove Kazakh airlines from the EU Air Safety List,” the Kazakh Committee said.
“The main concern was that the structure and staff of the Civil Aviation Committee did not meet the safety requirements: the aviation authority employed too few men and could not execute proper control. The level of its experts was insufficiently high either,” the Vice-Minister said.
Consequently, other concerns included lack of compliance with ICAO requirements in investigation of flight accidents, insufficient control over activities of aviation personnel, air traffic service and meteorological service.
After receiving the ICAO report Kazakhstan made a lot of effort to improve its compliance with the international aviation standards. It amended the legislation governing aviation standards twice introducing a total of 80 changes, and passed around 40 regulations to rectify its legal base. It also expanded its force of experts, provided advanced training for its staff and ensured proper certification of its inspectors to address the international aviation watchdog’s recommendations.
As a result, Kazakhstan’s overall conformance with ICAO standards in air safety compliance monitoring by the government and efficiency of implementation of ICAO standards and recommended practices grew from 47% in 2009 to 65% in 2014 and is expected to attain the level of 74% this year, after the final report of the ICAO Validation Commission is released in July.
Kazakhstan is not going to stop at that. According to the Civil Aviation Committee chairman Beken Seidakhmetov, it ambitious plan is to bring the compliance of the Committee with ICAO standards to 80% by 2020.
By Tatyana Kuzmina