South Africa Aviation Incidents/Accidents – 2023

South Africa, the aviation powerhouse of Africa, recorded 27.2 million passengers passing through its airports in FY2023/24, according to Airports Company South Africa. This marks a significant increase from the 23.1 million recorded in FY2022/23, though it remains below the pre-COVID numbers of 32.5 million recorded in FY2019/20.

Besides scheduled airline operations, South Africa’s aviation industry is vibrant, with the country hosting a significant number of pilot training schools. About 70% of all approved flight training organizations on the continent are in South Africa, and it leads in private aircraft operations in Africa.

When it comes to aviation incidents/accidents, South Africa accounts for nearly half of all reported on the continent. It is also the only country that reports incidents associated with the operations of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), commonly known as drones.

For instance, in 2023, South Africa reported 170 incidents and accidents (49.4%) out of approximately 344 recorded on the continent. There were a total of 44 (25.9% of all reported) incidents involving drone operations, with 41 (or 93.2%) of these occurring in South Africa.

All 22 recorded fatalities in the country in 2023 were associated with general aviation (165/170 or 97.1%), with private flights (59/170 or 34.7%) and training flights (21/170 or 21.8%) being the most significant contributors.

Most of the incidents and accidents were attributed to the landing phase (53/170 or 31.2%) of flight, with June reporting the most incidents and January recording the most fatalities.

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