The Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuous Airworthiness Project (COSCAP) in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) States is a SADC project that was successfully implemented by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The principal goal of the project was establishment of the SADC Aviation Safety Organisation (SASO). In addition, the project aimed to deliver technical cooperation and training to the Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs) of SADC Member States.

Project Strategy

As prescribed in the ICAO Project Document, implementation strategy began with the COSCAP team’s visits to Member States to assess the positions of each State with respect to the completion status of their Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) developed in response to the State’s most recent ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) Assessment. The COSCAP’s assessments were conducted within the context of the ICAO Convention on International Civil Aviation and Annexes 1, 6 and 8, which address Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) covering Personnel Licensing, Operation of Aircraft and Aircraft Airworthiness, respectively.

The COSCAP team developed a preliminary work plan through which it assisted Member States upgrade their primary Civil Aviation Legislation and Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs). The plan used a generic civil aviation act drafted by SADC Council, dubbed the “SADC Model Civil Aviation Act” and generic regulations as representative models for upgrading States’ national regulations. The generic regulations were dubbed the SADC Generic Regulations (SGRs).

The Plan urged SADC Member States to incorporate the provisions of the Model Act and SGRs into their own equivalent documents. This would effectively upgrade States’ regulations to reflect current ICAO SARPs within the framework of ICAO Annexes 1, 6 and 8. This action established a methodology for the creation of an initial level of regulatory harmonisation among Member State CAAs.

Best Practice Technical Procedures

A Flight Safety Working Group (FSWG) was established in August 2009. Membership in the FSWG included nominated senior flight operations and airworthiness inspectors from Member State CAAs. Its purpose was to work with the COSCAP to ensure that the SGRs drafted by the COSCAP reflected the most recent revisions to the SARPs contained in ICAO Annexes 1, 6 and 8.

Review of Generic “Best Practice” Technical Procedures, developed by the COSCAP was an additional function of the FSWG. These procedures were dubbed SADC Generic Procedures (SGPs) and they were needed for implementing the SGRs. Incorporation of the provisions of the SGRs and SGPs into the text of equivalent national documents would assure that the regional regulatory and procedural harmonisation movement within the region got underway.

Accelerating Establishment of the SADC Aviation Safety Organisation (SASO)

In February 2011, at its 6th meeting in Gaborone, Botswana, the Project Steering Committee (SC) agreed with the COSCAP’s proposal to replace development of a SASO Feasibility Study with actions required to physically institutionalise SASO as a legal entity within SADC and accelerate establishment of SASO. This led to establishment of the Institutionalization Working Group (IWG).

The IWG performed as a high-level review committee. It consisted of representatives from Member States in the fields of flight safety standards, aviation law, finance, economics, human capital, and security. The IWG’s function was to review and comment on documents developed by the COSCAP team that were needed for establishment and operationalisation of SASO, then make recommendations for the CAC’s approval of the documents.

Focus on Technical Cooperation and Training

From October 2011 to the close of 2013, the COSCAP focused its resources on providing technical cooperation and training to Member State CAAs for the purpose of training National Safety Inspectors (NSIs) in the technical skills needed to effectively conduct civil aviation safety oversight. During the period from 2012-2016, the COSCAP-team initiated and/or delivered formal and on-the-job (OJT) training to 467 national Inspectors. In addition, the COSCAP delivered OJT to 6 African inspectors as instructors under development towards their TRAINAIR/GAT qualification process as ICAO-Accredited Instructors for Government Safety InspectorRAF01802 Operations (GSI-OPS) Courses, whilst participants attended these courses from 27 recipient States of which 13 States (of the 15 SADC Member States) are from the SADC Region and 14 from other Regions.

Note: Mauritius and Seychelles never participated in any Project activities.

Project Closure

By the close of 2013 the Project had accomplished all of its immediate objectives except for establishing SASO. Establishment of SASO is a function of approval of its draft Charter. Due to circumstances beyond the control of the Project the SADC Council of Ministers had yet to consider the SASO Charter for approval.

The Project was terminated on 31 March 2016. The CAC, at their meeting of the TROIKA (outgoing, current and incoming Chairmen of the CAC) in March 2016, approved an amendment to the Transition Actions. This amendment accommodated the transitioning of the Project Staff to be absorbed into the iSASO as an interim SASO Secretariat.