SADC Member States are expected by the international aviation community to implement the eight critical elements (CE) essential for an effective safety oversight system according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). When this does not happen, an ICAO Significant Safety Concern (SSC) may be generated creating a negative impact upon the growth of the economy in the region. Other factors that may affect industry growth include:
- Trust of customers in the services provided;
- Sufficient/insufficient government oversight;
- Infrastructure or lack thereof;
- Improvements in quality and pricing of air services; and
- Increase/decrease in tourism in the region.
It is the mandate of SASO to assist Member States in resolving safety issues in the region as stated above. As a success driver behind the region's achievement of world standards in civil aviation safety, SASO will assist Member States reduce the number of SSCs in the region and achieve full compliance with the eight critical elements, namely:
- CE 1 – primary aviation legislation;
- CE 2 – specific operating regulations;
- CE 3 – state civil aviation system and safety oversight functions;
- CE 4 – technical personnel qualifications and training;
- CE 5 – technical guidance, tools and provision of safety critical information;
- CE 6 – licensing, certification, authorisation and/or approval obligations;
- CE 7 – surveillance obligations; and
- CE 8 – the resolution of safety concerns.
SASO defines its functions in the following 6 broad categories of customer service: