Search

 

Cablegate: New Civil Aviation Authority Head Outlines Safety

VZCZCXRO5812
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #0115/01 0180901
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180901Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3206
INFO RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1351
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1291
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 000115

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EB/TRA/OTP
DAKAR FOR FAA REP
ROME FOR TSA REP
FAA FOR NANCY ANGELO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAIR ELAB SF
SUBJECT: NEW CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY HEAD OUTLINES SAFETY
OVERSIGHT ISSUES FOR THE PRESS

REF: PRETORIA 00073

1. (SBU) Summary. South African Civil Aviation Authority
(CAA) CEO/Commissioner Colin Jordaan discussed safety
oversight and compliance with international aviation safety
standards during his first interviews with the South
African media. Jordaan alerted all airlines during the
interviews that CAA has "improved its oversight capacity
significantly". He identified recruitment, training, and
retention of qualified inspectors as areas of concern for
CAA as it continues to improve its oversight capacity.
Jordaan responded candidly to questions about engine
failure on a Nationwide flight on November 7, 2007. He
remained concerned about long-term recruitment and
retention prospects despite a successful round of
recruitment for airworthiness inspectors. End Summary.

2. (U) Jordaan gave an interview with "Classic FM 102.7"
immediately after receiving the FAA good news letter from
Economic Counselor on January 7 (reftel). The interview
ran later during the evening rush hour. Jordaan was candid
about flight safety oversight gaps that had threatened to
cause a downgrade from Category One. He was also frank
about the effects a downgrade would have had on South
Africa. Jordaan pledged his commitment to assure the
maintenance of South African safety oversight standards.

---------------------------------------
Compliance with International Standards
---------------------------------------

3. (U) Jordan discussed compliance with international
aviation safety standards in his first print interview in
the Business Times on January 13. (Note: Jordaan joined
CAA in December 2007, shortly after it announced that the
positions of CEO and Commissioner would be merged into one
position, bringing the CAA in line with international best
practices and addressing a shortfall identified in the FAA
audit). He told the press that CAA has increased its
aircraft maintenance standards "over the last eighteen
months to be in line with (evolving) international
standards." According to Jordaan, CAA has "introduced new
technical guidance materials that have resulted in more
intensive inspections for maintenance organizations." CAA
has hired additional inspectors and enforcement agents to
keep up with evolving international standards. CAA
recently recruited 15 qualified aircraft engineers (from an
applicant pool of over 100) to act as airworthiness
inspectors.

------------------
Improved Oversight
------------------


4. (U) Jordaan warned all airlines against "cutting
corners" since the CAA has "improved its oversight capacity
significantly." In addition to its audit functions, CAA
has instituted a new whistleblower program. A confidential
aviation hazardous reporting system has been created to
identify shortcomings that "might be concealed during a
normal audit." Under the new program, any airline or
maintenance organization employee can directly and
anonymously inform CAA of any violations. Transportation
Officer confirmed with CAA General Manager for Aviation
Security that the whistleblower program was already
functional. A confidential aviation hazard reporting form
is available on the CAA website (http://www.caa.co.za/) and
can be sent to a dedicated e-mail address
(CAHRS@caa.co.za).

-------------------------------------------
Q-------------------------------------------
Recruiting and Retaining Skilled Inspectors
-------------------------------------------

5. (U) Jordaan identified continued recruitment, training,
and retention of qualified inspectors as an area of concern
for South Africa. According to Jordaan, the South African
Air Force has become a training ground for civilian
airlines. He said the Air Force "is battling to train and
retain" engineers. Additionally, South African Airways
(SAA) lost approximately 40 technicians to emigration

PRETORIA 00000115 002 OF 002


(mostly to Australia and New Zealand) in 2007. Jordaan
emphasized that "as soon as (engineers) qualify they go to
the airlines or leave the country."

6. (U) Jordaan lauded efforts by SAA and other airlines for
their training and apprentice programs. However, he was
candid about the difficulty airlines are having in
attracting young professionals. Jordaan stated that
airline training programs were not attractive to the youth
population. He also refuted claims that the demand for
black pilots was compromising safety. Jordaan reiterated
that "black pilots are required to meet exactly the same
standards as any other pilot."


--------------------------------------
Response to Nationwide Engine Failure
--------------------------------------

7. (U) Jordaan spoke about the temporary grounding of
domestic air carrier Nationwide in December 2007. He
responded candidly to questions from both the radio and
print media about engine failure on Nationwide's Boeing
732-200 on flight CE723 on November 7. Although the
incident is still under investigation, Jordaan stated that
the incident would not have occurred if the plane had been
maintained properly. He also emphasized that it was the
only commercial airline accident registered in South Africa
in 2007 and "was dealt with quickly and thoroughly."

8. (U) Jordaan used the Nationwide example to highlight the
quality of South African pilots. According to Jordaan,
annual flight operations inspections by Boeing and Airbus
rank South African pilots highly.

9. (SBU) Comment. Jordaan expressed his concern about
long-term recruitment and retention prospects in his
conversations with both the Embassy (reftel) and the media.
This is not surprising, since skilled labor shortages exist
in almost all sectors of the economy. This is the result
of inadequate education for the disadvantaged population, a
rapidly growing economy, and a global skills shortage that
is attracting many skilled South Africans to accept well-
paid employment in other countries. End Comment.


BOST

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC