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Cablegate: Faa International Aviation Safety Assessment Consultation

VZCZCXRO9643
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #1791/01 2261438
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131438Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5385
INFO RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON DC
RUEANHA/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHDC
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1366
RUEHMT/AMCONSUL MONTREAL 0002

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 001791

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EB/TRA/OTP
MONTREAL FOR USICAO
FAA HQ FOR API-1/AFS-50/AGC-7; DOT FOR X45/C20
DAKAR FOR FAA REP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAIR SF
SUBJECT: FAA INTERNATIONAL AVIATION SAFETY ASSESSMENT CONSULTATION
WITH SACAA SUCCESSFULLY CONCLUDED

REF: (A) STATE 8052, (B) PRETORIA 00937

PRETORIA 00001791 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary. The FAA has successfully concluded formal
International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) consultation
meetings with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA),
validating South Africa's safety oversight system. Key stakeholders
participated in the final outcomes meeting at the Department of
Transport (DOT) and discussed continuing bilateral cooperation.
Officials reiterated a willingness to engage with the U.S. on
liberalizing air frequencies, while acknowledging that Open Skies
negotiations were not likely to be successful at this point. End
Summary.

------------------------------------
IASA Consultation Meetings Concluded
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) The FAA has successfully concluded formal IASA consultation
meetings with the SACAA in Midrand, Johannesburg. The consultation
team led by Fred Walker was accompanied by the FAA Representative
for Africa Moira Keane and the meetings took place July 30-31. The
FAA consultation team validated the sustainability of South Africa's
safety oversight system and determined that it met International
Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) minimum standards. (Note: A
final determination will only be confirmed officially by FAA once
the consultation team submits its report to FAA headquarters. End
Note.)

3. (SBU) The team verified the completion of corrective measures
identified in the SACAA action plan during the December 2007
consultation meeting (ref A). The team validated the hiring and
training of adequate inspectors, the implementation of a
surveillance plan, and the resolution of safety issues. The FAA
team expressed its gratitude for the thorough briefing and
documentation provided by SACAA during this follow-up visit.

4. (SBU) The Director General of Transport Mpumi Mpofu, Department
of Foreign Affairs USA Officer Fadl Nacerodien, SACAA officials, and
Embassy staff participated in the final outcomes meeting at the DOT
headquarters in Pretoria on July 31. SACAA Chairman/CEO Captain
Colin Jordaan thanked the FAA team for its positive engagement
throughout the IASA consultation process. SAG officials
acknowledged that the initial IASA consultations in July 2007 had
helped South Africa to focus on aviation safety priorities.

------------------------------
Continued Bilateral Engagement
------------------------------


5. (SBU) Mpofu thanked FAA and Embassy for their positive engagement
with South African officials and encouraged continued bilateral
cooperation in the aviation sector. She acknowledged that ramping
up capacity was a difficult undertaking, but stated that the IASA
process was "one of the best learning experiences" for the SACAA and
DOT. She noted that the IASA consultations provided momentum for
South Africa to improve its safety oversight capacity, but added
that the South African Government (SAG) considered meeting IASA
minimum standards as the first step in improving oversight capacity.
Mpofi emphasized that South Africa would have to continue to
improve this capacity to keep in line with growth in the aviation
industry and increasingly stringent international standards. South
Africa hopes to model itself as a leader in the African aviation
sector and would welcome bilateral engagement with the U.S. on this
Qsector and would welcome bilateral engagement with the U.S. on this
issue.

6. (SBU) Mpofu would like to export the lessons learned from South
Africa's experience with the IASA process to the rest of the South
African Development Community (SADC) region and other African
nations. She indicated that South Africa has close working
relations with the U.S. ICAO representative on climate change issues
and would like to extend cooperation in other areas as South Africa
addresses challenges in African civil aviation. She identified
rising fuel prices and transport costs as a shared challenge. South
Africa successfully lobbied to host the ICAO Special Africa-Indian
Ocean Regional Air Navigation (AFIRAN) Meeting in Durban in November
2008. Mpofu hopes to use the Durban meeting to promote the
development of clear strategic plans to address deficiencies and
promote aircraft maintenance.

7. (SBU) Keane welcomed Mpofu's call for increased bilateral
cooperation and indicated that FAA has developed an Africa-wide

PRETORIA 00001791 002.2 OF 002


strategy for 2008-2009 that will focus on ten priority countries.
Keane encouraged the SAG to work with the State Department to
identify candidates for the International Visitors Leadership
Program. Keane said the U.S. provided air traffic control advice to
Uganda for VIP visits during the 2007 Commonwealth of Nations
Meetings and would be willing to make a request to FAA's air traffic
representatives to provide similar advice to South Africa for the
2010 FIFA World Cup. Mpofu expressed appreciation for the offer and
said she would ask the 2010 aviation task team to follow-up with
requests for assistance.

-----------------------------
2010 Provides Momentum for
Liberalizing Airlift Strategy
-----------------------------

8. (SBU) Mpofu reiterated her willingness to engage with the U.S. on
liberalizing air frequencies, while acknowledging that the time was
not right for full Open Skies negotiations. She discussed the
matter with Deputy Secretary Admiral Barrett during his visit to
Cape Town in April (ref B). She noted that South Africa is still
working through the African Union on the Yamoussoukro Agreement,
which outlines the process for aviation liberalization within the
African Union and has precedence over any member-states' bilateral
or multilateral Open Skies agreements. However, DOT Chief of Civil
Aviation Anwar Gany told Transport Officer that the negotiations
with "Francophone countries were extremely difficult and unlikely to
bear results any time soon." As a result, the South African
Government (SAG) is pursuing liberalized airlift strategies for the
World Cup on a bilateral basis. DOT officials described the airlift
strategy as "eighty percent Open Skies."

9. (SBU) Gany said several bilateral negotiations have already been
successfully concluded. The SAG recently announced increased
frequencies to the U.K., South Korea, and Australia. Negotiations
with New Zealand are currently underway. Mpofu said she would like
to see increased frequencies to the U.S. also. She noted that
frequencies to New York were fine, but would like to see more
frequencies to Atlanta and Los Angeles. Mpofu stated that Gany and
his team were available to engage with the U.S. on airlift
strategies.

10. (SBU) Comment. All stakeholders were pleased with the
completion of the IASA formal consultation meetings and looked
forward to receiving the official determination from FAA
headquarters. SAG officials expressed a desire to continue to work
with the USG on civil aviation issues throughout the African
continent. In particular, there is a strong desire to engage with
the U.S. on increasing air frequencies. They acknowledged the
importance of the U.S. tourism market and would like to take
advantage of the impetus provided by the World Cup to boost air
traffic with the U.S. South Africa has already successfully
negotiated several bilateral airlift strategies (e.g. U.K. and
Australia) and it could serve as a step towards eventual Open Skies
negotiations. However, rising fuel prices have already weakened the
potential of the increased frequencies granted by the new
agreements. South African Airways and British Airways have already
announced that they will not be able to take advantage of all of the
increased frequencies between the U.K. and South Africa due to
Qincreased frequencies between the U.K. and South Africa due to
rising fuel costs.

BOST

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