Publisher's Column

Two hot topics facing the aviation services sector are safety and security on the ramp. It seems that these topics have been on the agenda of most industry meetings this year. And, NATA, IATA, the fuel suppliers, and others have safety training programs to address these issues.

There appear to be no hard and fast industrywide statistics published regarding accidents on the ramp and the monetary values associated with them; however, it's an area of growing concern. Some believe the answer is in setting standards, overseen by airports, which would require service providers on the ramp to follow training programs to prevent runway incursions and ground incidents.

One position is that airports themselves could take a more active role in services on the ramp as a way of ensuring control and as a potential revenue source. Others feel that ramps are safer than ever and that accidents and incursions are down from where they'd once been. Determining what the actual numbers are to corroborate either side would be a good start, but a large undertaking. Viewing safety purely in terms of cost savings and not as a safety issue for personnel is not the best thing for employees and in turn can't be the best thing for airlines, airports, FBOs, and other service providers.

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TSA ends its Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC) pilot program later this year, amid concerns on how exactly the program will work. It's not clear which airport employees and ramp workers will have one of these cards, but with the standards set by each airport, transferability between airports may become an issue for some workers who do service at multiple airports.

It's an issue worth watching.

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