This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Australasian Aviation Ground Safety Council (AAGSC), a non-profit organisation working for ground safety in aviation within the region.
The Council has been at the forefront of increasing awareness, education and establishing 'best practice' procedures for all those that work on the ground around aircraft large and small.
The Council was formed early in 1980 when the TAA Ground Safety Officer travelled to Auckland to meet with his counterpart in Air New Zealand, having already established a basic working relationship with his Ansett counter-part through both being based in Melbourne. From this meeting it was decided there could possibly be a benefit in forming a Ground Safety Council so the safety managers were approached and a meeting was arranged in Sydney hosted by Qantas Airways.
While there was no real agenda, the attendees explored the possibility of setting up a group to determine areas of mutual interest, the means of creating a cooperative approach to problem resolution and to decide on the regularity of meetings. Six monthly meeting was the initial aim later changed to quarterly to align with an earlier establish Flight Safety Council.
The original name for the group was the Australasian Airline Ground Safety Group but the word 'Group' was quickly changed to ‘Council’, again to keep in line with the Flight Safety forum.
It was not long before other airlines and the military joined. Due to the nature of the business and the identification of expanding issues, it soon became apparent that the Council needed to expand its membership base to include organisations which work on aprons and in the terminals. This led to oil companies, catering companies, handling agencies and the like being offered membership of the Council.
In 1997, a major change was made. It had become a practice to allow representatives from some of the major airports in the region to attend meetings as guests. It was the growing number of airport representatives that the Council decided to make a small but very significant change to its title; the word 'Airline' was changed to 'Aviation'.
The Council was then known as the Australasian Aviation Ground Safety Council which was a very positive move due to the evolution of the aviation industry leading to wider responsibilities and accountabilities being placed on airport authorities. The dependency of the various parties on each other to ensue all legal requirements were met was becoming extremely important. The change also helped to break down barriers created by political infighting at much higher levels in the different organisations.
In 1998, the AAGSC was awarded the prestigious international Flight Safety Foundation/Air BP Ramp Safety Award for its contribution and efforts to aviation ground safety. Since then, the Council has received numerous accolades from around the world and despite the difficulties within the industry over recent years, it has continued to grow.