IATA looking for ground cooperation

During its Ground Handling Conference, IATA set priorities for improving safety and reducing aircraft damage in ground operations. These priorities include the establishment of a Ground Handling Council (GHC) that will promote cooperation across the ground handling safety chain. The GHC will address all aspects of ground operations including load control, airside safety, ground support equipment, ground services agreements, as well as ground handling processes and procedures. The GHC will comprise 20 high-level representatives from airlines and ground service providers (GSPs) and report to the IATA Operations Committee. As well, IATA will link several key data sources and statistical information to facilitate data driven decisions to improve safety performance and reduce ground damage. The sources to be linked include the Ground Damage Database (GDDB); Risk Management (RM); IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO); and IATA Ground Operations standards and procedures, specifically the Airport Handling Manual (AHM) and the IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM). IATA will also promote greater regulatory acceptance and utilization of ISAGO and IGOM at the national level. The European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) already has endorsed these initiatives to which airlines and GSPs have committed. The goal is to achieve worldwide recognition of these programs by national regulators to initiate and implement oversight on ground operations. Guenther Matschnigg, IATA senior vice-president safety, operations and infrastructure, said: “Ground handling is core to airline operations. 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.”