NATA Launches Safety 1st
Paul Bowers, Publisher
t appears that the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has struck the mother lode with the soon to be released program called Safety 1st . The program will be rolled out at this year's AS3 trade show later this spring in Phoenix. So far the details look quite enticing.
In a nutshell, this new initiative is designed to enhance the safe handling of aircraft by having fixed base operators test the education and skills of their line service personnel. Included will be testing in the areas of general safety, fueling, ground service equipment, aircraft services, airport operations, and customer service.
The theory goes that better trained and educated line service people have fewer accidents, thus saving the FBO money by having lower insurance premiums. It also would follow that this would be an excellent way for one FBO to differentiate itself from its competitors when vying for business.
It would also serve to add a little self-esteem for those people out on the line who take their jobs seriously and have something to show their peers, customers, and everyone else in the aviation community (not bad for a minimum standard for hiring either). And, it gives NATA a powerful new tool in member benefits — kind of like the Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) designation for airport management personnel.
This appears to be a great new program in that it is not simply concocted by a company or association for self-serving purposes but an idea that benefits all of those who are involved with it. A preview of the program shows that many reputable sources were utilized to come up with the practical and written exams. The tests are not some fluff pieces that can be passed without proper preparation. And, participants are not required to purchase a training program from any one source. They have the flexibility to incorporate any curriculum from any independent training company or fuel supplier. Testing and training could be done completely on site to minimize the expense to the FBO.
We would encourage any FBO to call NATA to get more details on Safety 1st. I would also encourage all of us in industry to follow NATA's lead and continue to offer up more ideas on ways to improve our products and services, thus leading to improvements and efficiencies that our customers are demanding.