There are two categories of training. First, there is the five-day training course for pool member auditors, mandatory for any auditor planning to qualify as an ISAGO auditor. It is free of charge for the ISAGO pool members.
Second, there is the three-day training course for the ground handlers, for a minimal fee, to help them prepare for their ISAGO audit. This latter course is run in key IATA locations and is also offered “in-company” — an option that is growing in popularity. A schedule of all ISAGO training courses are available on www.iata.org/isago.
Just as IATA is a natural fit to run a global safety audit program for ground handlers, it is also appropriate for IATA to start a ground accident and incident data collection and analysis program. Over the years, there have been several attempts to get a global perspective but with little results. IATA launched a data analysis task force working in parallel with the ISAGO program development, consisting of airlines, handlers, regulators and the insurance industry. Additionally, organizations such as Flight Safety Foundation and the International Aviation Handlers Association (IAHA) have been highly supportive and have committed data to the exercise. All participants agreed that the project needs to go beyond just the collection and categorization of accident and incident data to include the causes and contributing factors.
Having the insurance industry involved since the outset of the program is already paying dividends. Insurers have a natural interest in any program that could reduce ground damage, and hence claims. Because of that close c0operation, ISAGO provides a unique opportunity for the industry to bundle its aviation insurance buying via an insurance program. This program is now being finalized, and ground service providers that are ISAGO registered will be eligible for the program. Participants will be benefit from increased market presence, lower premiums, better coverage, and better claims handling.
The IATA Board of Governors has set a target of 120 audits to be achieved in 2010, and we are confident this will be met. The IATA’s Board of Governors also fully supports the development of the IATA Ground Operations Manual- (IGOM). This manual has the potential to bring both efficiency and safety improvements in ground operations, and will benefit both airlines and handlers.
Currently, each airline publishes its own Ground Operations Manual that details how the airline requires its aircraft to be handled at airports throughout their network. This individual airline approach can lead to significant variations in requirements and standards that have to be applied by ground handlers even when handling the same type of aircraft from different airlines parked on adjacent stands. In the operational environment, this lack of consistency and simplicity often leads to confusion. In certain circumstances this confusion can lead to an increased safety risk to handlers and the aircraft.
The IATA Ground Operations Manual can be adopted by airlines as their “core” set of requirements whilst always recognizing there will be a need for some customization to cover individual government and company policies. The development of this manual will be a high priority project for IATA in 2010.