IATA Ground Operations Symposium

The IATA Ground Operations Symposium was held in San Diego, Calif., May 16-19. Held in conjunction with the IATA Ground Handling Council annual meeting, the event attracted attendees from all over the world to discuss a variety issues affecting airlines and ground handlers.
Here is a review of some of the topics presented during the symposium.

Is the Key New GSE?

In this session, Tim Rane, region manager, Europe, Middle East, Russia & FS Africa for JBT AeroTech, spoke about electric GSE, and how it can help reduce emissions on the ramp.

Rane says that fleet managers should take a practical approach when considering different types of technology. “By that practical approach, we mean eliminate the technology risk,” he says, adding that eliminating the technology risk involves choosing a technology that is proven and commonly in use at airports, he says, pointing to electric equipment as the answer.

Rane says that electric equipment is the optimal technology because it is available, common and cost-efficient when taking into account its total cost of ownership. “Our point is that you should be looking at electrical GSE to meet the regulations that are coming into force in the future, because it makes a good business decision more than anything,” he says.

Green Build Project, San Diego International Airport

A separate session focused on the terminal project at San Diego International Airport. Dan McGuckin, project director, and Tom Rossbach, project design director, discussed the expansion, which is adding 465,000 square feet to the existing Terminal 2, along with 10 new gates, and more than a million square feet of taxiway and jet parking.

The goal of the project is to achieve a minimum of a silver LEED status. Some of the key components of the project included 400 Hz power and preconditioned air at all the new gates for a fleet range of A320,737 to 787, A350, as well as providing electric charging stations for GSE.

Inside the terminal, some key components are efficient lighting, efficient motors for the baggage system and escalators, as well as a motion system that will shut down the baggage system if it is not in use. The speakers pointed to these initiatives inside the terminal as having the quickest payback.

Cooperation for Greener Airports

Martin Ng, director, engineering at Cara Airline Solutions, talked about the environmental challenges facing airline caterers, such as a high energy and waste footprint. The company has instituted practices to reduce its environmental impact, such as a diesel fuel consumption reduction program which involves the deployment of subcompact vehicles for ramp use and the use emissions-controlled hi-lift catering trucks. Through initiatives such as those, Ng says, the company has reduced consumption by 25 percent over last two years at its Toronto location.

Xavier Oh, senior manager environment and ICAO liaison at ACI, spoke about environmental initiatives from the airport perspective. Speaking about GSE, he says airports should look at the equipment and how they can work with stakeholders to reduce emissions. He pointed to Zurich as an example, where it worked with major partners to install ground power and institute APU restrictions. The airport also installed a CNG station to support CNG vehicles on the ground. Other examples of an airport supporting alternative-technology GSE through infrastructure, he says, include Dallas-Fort Worth where they installed electric charging stations, as well as LAX which has a liquid hydrogen filling station.

IATA Ground Damage Prevention: Learning from Experience, Forgetting Key Lessons

David Anderson, head of operational safety at British Airways, spoke about the need for the industry to work more collaboratively to prevent damage on the ground, stressing that companies should try to learn as much as possible about why an incident occurred in the first place and work with others to prevent a similar incident.

He also gave an overview of the IATA ground damage task force that was formed in September 2009 for just that reason — to help airlines work more closely together to learn from mistakes. The task force includes multiple carriers and ground handlers. The first initiative of the task force has been to collect data regarding ground damage, such as aircraft types that have been damaged frequently, locations and whether an incident occurred on arrival or departure. The collection of data is the first step to promote greater collaboration and ultimately prevent ground damage, he says.

ISAGO Round Table Discussion: Champions and Challenges

Participants discussed the IATA Safety Audits for Ground Operations program, which is targeted at ground handlers operating at airports. Joseph Suidan, assistant director, ISAGO at IATA, gave an update of the program, saying that 40 member airlines have joined the auditing pool, and it has 170 auditors. Speaking about the momentum the program has gained throughout the industry, he pointed to Seattle-Tacome International Airport, which has mandated that all ground service providers at the airport must be certified under ISAGO by January 2011, he says, adding that Schiphol in Amsterdam has also mandated that providers must be certified under ISAGO by Oct. 2010.

John Kleberg, managing director quality assurance – airline operations at United Airlines, spoke about the program from the airline perspective, saying that it’s a natural expansion of the IOSA program. Also, he says, it is set up by internationally recognized standards, which is key. He says it will also create a more efficient system overall. “We don’t have to go out and audit every ground service provider, nor does every ground service provider have to be a recipient of multiple audits,” he says. “Looking in the future, we see this as a potential contractual requirement to even do business with United.”