International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) alerted of Vanuatu Aviation Safety

A leaked document stated ICAO has been alerted to the issues affecting the Aviation Industry in Vanuatu. The document also stated that “companies who provide maintenance on GA aircraft in Vanuatu are unsafe.”

The source who provided the document continued that ” the conditions in which maintenance is undertaken are sub standard, hangars full of non aviation equipment and projects and the work is done by locals with no formal training.”

“The results speak for themselves. Engine failures are occurring at alarming rates on all GA aircraft.”

ICAO is an organization of “States.”  ICAO develops standards for aviation, and then audit to those standards. ICAO when auditing determine the State’s ability to oversee its aviation operations.

ICAO however do not audit ANSP’s, Airports and certainly not Airlines.  And even with a State’s poor audit report, the only ability ICAO have to provide any “enforcement” is to make the audit itself transparent.  ICAO though are “quite limited in what it can actually do in a situation like the one happening in Vanuatu.”
Quite a number of pacific islands are in the same shape.  Very low traffic, and as a consequence, very little interest in a basic sound aviation system, even with the most basic oversight capability.

ICAO could schedule an audit, but the ICAO did audit Vanuatu’s Aviation once and Vanuatu scored very low, in fact Vanuatu come out with one of the lowest scores of any country in the world which seems to say Vanuatu does not seem to care about its Aviation Industry.

The source continued that if there are serious safety issues especially with so many engine failures, ICAO would need to use it’s audit system to initiate a Management Information Request, which asks some pointed questions but then again it all depends if the Vanuatu Government does care about it’s Aviation Safety”

The ICAO though is willing to assist Vanuatu’s situation.

Air Vanuatu is massively delinquent in terms of airport operational standards, security and infrastructure which is visible through the continuous  engine failures Vanuatu has witnessed.

The runway at Bauerfield is manifestly unsafe and requires a full upgrade. The only element off the airport operational management that appears to function to a definable standard is air traffic which is run by a capable ex-pat.

A flight from Luganville to Vila had engine problems and flew with one engine to Port Vila. A few days later three Aircraft’s were grounded due to Engine failures.

“Most recently the Chief Engineer for Air Vanuatu was sacked for refusing to sign off an ATR Aircraft after recording 250 defects and maintenance is almost non-existent as there are now no adequately qualified engineers,” continued the source.

Crews that do raise safety issues are told to “read their contracts” The hangar facilities are grossly sub-standard and would not pass muster with any regulatory authority.

The ATR, in particular is operating way beyond its defined engine life, essential inspections have never been done and members of the Government have publicly identified that log entries are incorrect.

The engines are being operated “on condition” by a company that is quite simply not equipped to undertake adequate health monitoring. The structural support beams under the galley, which are the subject of special inspections, are way out of limits and in a dangerous condition.

This paints a very dull picture for Aviation in Vanuatu and pretty soon, there will be major issues if an ATR crushes.