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Ground operations take centre stage

Ground handling took centre stage at the Ground Operations Safety Advisory Forum (GO-SAFE) held at CASA’s Melbourne office on 10–11 July 2018.

The event, convened by CASA Ground Operations Inspector Tim Meagher, brought together ground handling managers from airlines, service providers, airports and CASA. They found there was no shortage of issues to be tackled or ways in which the industry could become more efficient, and potentially safer.

The Chief Operating Officer of ground handling agent Swissport (formerly Aerocare), Rob D’Alessio, told the forum of a survey that had discovered 45 chocking and coning methods being used to cover just three common aircraft types.

Wheel chocks are used to secure the aircraft while parked, and cones denote areas that service vehicles must not enter, to prevent ground damage.

The International Air Transport Association has one recommended coning and chocking configuration for all twin-engine aircraft.

Multiple variations, while not necessarily unsafe in themselves, cause mental load and possibly confusion among ground handling staff, who often have to remember different protocols for different customers.

The forum held a standardisation workshop which identified three areas where greater coordination could easily be achieved and established working groups to follow those up.

Other topics explored at the forum included human factors training in ground operations and loading, other human factors, drug and alcohol management plans, and freight loading.