DR Congo: Is it one of the most dangerous places to fly?


While flying is one of the safest ways to travel, in some countries with inadequate regulation and difficult terrain, it can be deadly.

Two recent crashes in the Democratic Republic of Congo have raised concerns about air safety there.

The most recent was earlier in November, when a plane crashed into houses in the eastern city of Goma, killing 27 people.

But how unsafe is it to fly in the DR Congo and how does it compare to other parts of world?

What is DR Congo’s safety record?

Data from the Aviation Safety Network, which monitors and collates information about airline safety, shows DR Congo has had the most passenger-plane accidents in Africa since 1945.

Rescue work
Image captionRescuers try to reach those affected by a recent crash

Daniel Kwasi Adjekum, of the University of North Dakota, says the high accident rate in DR Congo can be attributed to a variety of factors, among them the large size of the country, its terrain and weak regulation.

Air travel is important because only four out of the other 25 provincial capitals in the country can be accessed by reliable roads from the capital, Kinshasa.

But DR Congo has dilapidated airport infrastructure, traffic navigation and surveillance equipment. There are also weak technical and safety regulations in the country.

Other challenges include the use of obsolete or aged aircraft.

There are also issues with flight crew and maintenance staff, who often lack supervision and stringent regulatory standards to adhere to.

And some accidents are down to factors such as bad weather, including heavy rains and storms during the rainy seasons, since DR Congo lies in the tropical belt.

Who has the most accidents globally?

The US has had the most air accidents since 2010, followed by Russia, Canada, Mexico and Indonesia. But the US has some of the busiest commercial air routes in the world and the high volume of air traffic would make it more vulnerable to risk and possible safety lapses.