COPYRIGHT 2017, INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REVIEW / GS
Manuscript of the
Article published in
'International Airport Review', Sept. 2017
2. Systemic Perils
The systemic pathogenies frequently encountered in the ground handling business around the world comprise:
Subpar selection criteria and inadequate or improper training of ground services staff.
Inconsistent implementation or non-compliance with standard operating procedures.
Lack of on-site supervision.
Shortage of manpower.
Ineffective internal quality control and safety oversight from ground service providers.
Unsatisfactory maintenance and serviceability of ground support equipment.
Deficient apron supervision and control from aerodrome operators.
Unjust corporate culture, where employee may be even negatively incentivized.
Limited managerial commitment and accountability.
Incoherent communication and collaboration among key stakeholders.
Although some of the
issues above may individually raise the probabilities of human
error by up to eleven-fold, when combined together this
likelihood increases exponentially.
Establishing the regulatory requirements and process for the certification of ground service providers.
Defining the governing framework for awarding a license to ground services staff relevant to its job function(s).
Delineating the practical and theoretical training specifications for all ground service functions including training material, classroom or OJT hours and assessment criteria.
Outlining the requirements for the approval of training organizations delivering courses on ground services.
Developing and implementing a compliance oversight system encompassing tactical audits and inspections.
Enhancing ground operations safety at all aerodromes by establishing systematic compliance oversight against the new regulatory requirements.
Setting a level playing field for new entrants to compete with incumbent service providers in view of the opening of the ground handling market and the undergoing airport expansion projects and privatization.
Elevating the quality and level of service provided to passengers and airlines.
Pictures: The new terminal facilities of King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, which is 88% complete. In June 2017, Changi Airports International signed a contract for the operation of the new airport for 20 years.
(I) GACAR Part 151 - Ground Service Providers
Certified organizations nominate key “post-holders” responsible for the three critical domains of: ground operations, training and quality assurance. The post-holders have to be accepted by the aviation authority, enhancing the degree of accountability and allowing the regulator to directly assess the qualifications, knowledge and competence of such key personnel. The responsibilities of managerial, supervisory, safety, internal audit, and training personnel are also framed.
Duty period limitations for operational staff are addressed for the first time. It is stipulated that no person may be scheduled to perform duties for more than 10 hours within 24 consecutive hours, while a minimum rest period of 8 hours is observed. This can alleviate the excessive working hours of ground staff, that has direct impact on aviation safety due to the induced fatigue on employees and the training hours frequently lost under such circumstances.
The service life of ground support equipment (GSE) is limited to 15 years, which is on average double the depreciation period used for heavy equipment. As the condition of equipment is always a function of its utilization, extension of the service life is provisioned given that the party concerned conducts a risk assessment for the GSE in question. Furthermore, maintenance organizations need to obtain the acceptance of the aviation authority prior to engaging in contracts with ground service providers.
A dependable quality assurance (QA) system is seen as the core of a safe and well-functioning organization. The content of the corresponding QA manual, the setup of the quality organization and the responsibilities of the associated personnel are outlined. Non-certified organizations may serve as subcontractors only under stringent conditions, operating under the quality system of the certified GSP. Submission of safety reports and statistics is also introduced to address the under-reporting of occurrences.
application for certification involves the submission of
six prerequisites, including the five principal manuals
of: ground operations, training, quality assurance, safety
management and emergency planning, which have to be
reviewed and accepted by the authority. The GSP
certificate includes the operational specifications for
the organization, i.e. the privileges awarded, and is
initially valid for one year.
(II) GACAR Part 68 - Ground
Training records are submitted for acceptance to the aviation authority for ensuring that the applicant has undergone the training modules foreseen. The relevant certificates must be issued by a training organization acceptable to the regulator.
The organization has to assume accountability for assessing the competence of its employees and explicitly attest to the eligibility to perform their functions before releasing them to duty.
The ICAO level 3 English proficiency requirement is introduced for all staff who come in direct contact with cockpit crew.