Poorly trained pilots and lack of oversight make air traveler riskier in developing world

June 8, 2012

Associated Press and Worldview

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The commercial airline whose plane crashed in Nigeria earlier this week, killing 153 people on board and more on the ground, is defending its actions leading up to the crash, saying
its chief engineer was aboard the doomed flight.

Francis Ogboro, an executive who oversees Dana Air, told journalists on Wednesday that the company's employees wouldn't have embarked on a "suicide mission" by flying an unsafe plane. Ogboro also said the plane showed no faults or problems Sunday morning before it crashed in a densely populated neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city.

Popular anger has risen in the country against the airline since the crash. The company, owned by a wealthy Indian family living in Nigeria, has been grounded by the federal government as it
investigates the crash.

This is not the first deadly crash to befall the west African nation. Bill Voss, president and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation says Nigeria had actually "improved its flight safety record in recent years," but demand for airline travel has grown rapidly and at times, training and safety standards haven't necessarily been able to keep pace. According to Voss, the African region has nearly 20 times the number of plane crashes as North America.  

Friday on Worldview, Bill Voss sheds some light on the challenges developing nations face as they try to improve safety standards.