ISAGO Update

A hot topic at the IATA Ground Operations Symposium, the safety audit program moves forward.

IATA is finding it hard to keep up with the growing demand for ISAGO training. 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. Then there is the three-day training course for handlers, 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. Details of the schedule of all ISAGO training courses are available on the Web site

Just as IATA is singularly well placed to run a global safety audit program for ground handlers, so too is it well placed to start to get a handle on ground accident and incident data collection and analysis. Over the years, there have been several attempts to get a global perspective, but no one has yet succeeded. IATA has had 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 are agreed that the project needs to go beyond just the collection and categorization of accident and incident data, to look more deeply as to why these things are happening — the “why” in addition to the “what.” The ISAGO data exercise is being integrated with the IATA-wide Global Safety Information Centre, now under development.

Insurance Benefit
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 cooperation, 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 eligible for increased market presence, lower premiums, better coverage and better claims handling.

Full backing of the IATA Board
At its meeting in Kuala Lumpur on June 7, the IATA Board of Governors reiterated its support of the ISAGO program. The board noted with satisfaction the progress of this important safety program. With the IATA board support, we believe that the pool membership will now increase, and more handlers will come on board. Programs such as this don’t go from birth to maturity overnight. More pool members are coming on board, and more handlers are signing up. The synergies start to build exponentially.

2009 Targets
The IATA board has set a target of 80 audits to be achieved in 2009, and we are confident this will be met. The mix is different to what we were expecting — we’re doing more individual companies and smaller numbers of stations for each company. But we see this as a success factor in its own right, demonstrating the global diversity of ISAGO.

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