UNHAS passenger boarding for a flight from Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Copyright: WFP/Jonathan Thompson
The WFP Aviation Safety Unit once again proves that its efforts in reducing the risk of accidents and enhancing safety awareness are far reaching. Indeed efforts in the past have not gone unnoticed.
In 2009, as a result of the unit's hard work, they were recognized by the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) for their outstanding efforts and awarded the FSF's President's Citation (WFP's Aviation Safety Unit Receives Award For Its Outstanding Achievements). And then in March of this year, one of WFPs own, Samir Sajet, took home a LOG.LEO Award (Championing Aviation Safety). It is no surprise then to find that in building upon this, the unit this month launched its first ever safety training in a language other than English, running a free course in Kiev, Ukraine, for Eastern European air operators working for WFP.
About 40 participants from 18 different organizations took part in the training, which was sponsored by local Ukrainian airline Air Meridian and given in Russian. Participants included the Ukrainian Civil Aviation Authority, GM Helicopters, Ukrainian Helicopters, SKOL Helicopters, Air Taurus and many others. “At present WFP Aviation uses aircraft from Russian-speaking operators in Haiti, Niger, Pakistan, Sudan and Nepal,” explains Regional Aviation Safety Officer Samir Sajet. “This was an attempt to improve understanding by overcoming language difficulties.”
The training primarily focused on basic safety concepts and hazards and risks, guiding operators step by step through the phases of implementing safety management systems within their organizations. The course was provided cost-free in line with the unit’s vision to improve safety among aviation colleagues. The Aviation Safety Unit is gearing up for another important event, a flight safety conference in Nairobi from 23-26 November, which includes courses for Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority officials and other air operators working for WFP.
“This event aims to increase awareness and knowledge about the most recent developments in the main threats to aviation safety in Africa, possible solutions and some of the most critical aviation standards for international air operations” says Kenya Aviation Safety Regional Officer Conny Akerstrom.
The efforts of the Aviation Safety Unit have a widespread and direct impact on the welfare of the whole humanitarian community. With some 300,000 passengers transported by the WFP United Nations Humanitarian Air Service annually, their efforts and hard work prove that this responsibility is taken seriously.