While I searched for news this morning for our weekly GSW e-newsletter, I read about the death of a ramp worker at Pearson Airport. Apparently, the Swissport employee got caught between a baggage loader and the plane he was servicing.
I also read about a cargo loader at an airport in India who died after a 660-pound container fell on him. I included the Swissport news, but not this one if only because it happened at the beginning of this month but just reached our newsfeeds service today.
Accidents at airports seem to be either deadly to person or damaging to aircraft and ground equipment. A couple of news items we’ve also read about lately show that safety on the ramp is taking center stage.
IATA, for example, announced the safety priorites for its Ground Handling Council at the annual Ground Handling Conference in Prague last week.
“Ground handling is core to airline operations,” said Guenther Matschnigg, IATA’s senior vice president for safety, operations and infrastructure, at last week’s conference. “Through renewed commitment to working together, taking a risk-based and data-driven approach, aviation stakeholders and regulators can improve safety and reduce the cost of ground damage, which is estimated in the billions of dollars annually. This will also increase reliability and improve operational performance.”
The group will be composed of 20 top executives from airlines and ground handlers. From the sound of the initial news release the council members will have plenty of fire power to consolidate data into IATA’s various safety programs. In turn, IATA will promote its programs throughout the world with the hope that national regulators will adopt them.
Also, on the heels of one of John Goglia’s recent blogs on the need for regulators in this country to share data, a new FAA-sponsored report compiled apron safety programs and statistics from a number of domestic and international airports.
“Through a common set of data and consistent definitions, the report is able to compare and contrast apron management programs around the world to U.S. airports, while considering the common operational and ownership differences between U.S. and non-U.S. airports,” the report states.
With no consistent management and control strategies covering one of the most congested areas of any airport, the report hopes to be one step in developing common protocol. There’s plenty of interesting reading in the report from a “Fod Squad” to annual safety weeks. Read more here. And if someone can tell me why LAX is in here, please let me know. You’ll see what I mean.