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Assessing Airline Safety


Given the geographical spread of humanitarian and development operations globally, organisations work in a variety of countries and often utilise national and international airlines to reach different locations. To know whether their staff should utilise air travel, or a specific airline, organisations look for airline assessments. While individual international airlines make their own announcements and statements about their safety, there is no comprehensive assessment publicly available related to airline safety and use in most countries. This article, therefore, seeks to help organisations better understand how airlines are regulated, the risks associated with air travel, and the different airline options available in order that each organisation can make their own assessment as to which airlines, and under what conditions, staff will be able to utilise them for official travel.

Air Travel Regulation Globally

Air travel regulation is complex and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is one of the few transnational regulatory bodies. This is due to the transnational nature of flights and the need to have some form of global safety and compliance when flights travel through international air space and cross borders upon landing. That said, each country, has their own regulative framework and there is no guarantee that even if they have a regulatory framework for airlines in their country that the regulation is evenly applied.

Airlines, and air travel, in most countries is regulated by a national body often called the Civil Aviation Authority or something similar. The job of this department is to have oversight over the regulations airlines, or people, must comply with in order to operate in that country. This includes inspecting the air worthiness of planes, flight standards, personnel licensing and safety investigations. It is then up to airlines to comply with these standards to operate in the country.