Saturday, 20 October 2012
IMPORTANCE OF UTMOST PROFESSIONALISM WHILST UNDERTAKING GROUND HANDLING OF AIRCRAFTS
A recent accident at Chennai Airport has revealed that on 03 August 2012, a freighter aircraft of Qatar Airways, on completion of its loading / unloading operations was being pushed back by a tractor that surprisingly had “no brakes” and instead a messenger with “wheel chokes” was being used to walk along and use these “Chokes as a Brake” for halting the tractor. It has emerged that after the “Push back operations and disconnection of tow-bar” the untrained tractor operator instead of driving clear, reversed the vehicle to hit the aircraft and subsequent damage to the aircraft that resulted in its uncalled for ‘grounding of aircrafts” for 2 days, apart from considerable expense on repair of damage to the aircraft.
It is learnt that even though the Airports Authority has issued strict orders that Ground Handling Operations are to be carried out only by the Authorized Agencies that are obliged to strictly follow the IATA and ICCAO norms and standards, for some reason, in this case, the operations were being undertaken by a non-entitled agency that had been undertaking “Sensitive Aircraft Ground Handling Operations” using outdated antiquated 20 years old equipment such as this tractor without brake and untrained half baked manpower “as the operator in this case” who reversed the tractor instead of casting away, that resulted in serious damage.
The accident amply brings out the importance of UTMOST PROFESSIONLISM whilst undertaking ground handling operations at our airports. The Government of India has brought into force the latest regulations in this regard through a Gazette Notification which are already in force. According to this, the authorized Ground Handling Agency would have to ensure that its Ground Handling Equipment is most modern (less than 5 years old) and totally compliant of IATA and ICCAO regulations.
We had an opportunity to interact with one of the such authorized Ground Handling Agency at Chennai Airport namely M/s Bhadra International and were informed that the company attaches the utmost importance to “Safety Management System” in its overall operations. A dedicated officer not only overseas this aspect but also undertakes internal audits every three months for critical analysis. This is in addition to the external audits that the company is subjected to by its client airlines. These stringent audits backed by state-of-art environment friendly equipment pressed into service by the company is yielding excellent results apart from on time performance.
Such signs of revolutionary changes at our airport is now a reality.