Ground handling - Articles and news items
Airport news / 18 April 2013 /
Plans to open up ground-handling services at major EU airports to more competition by increasing the minimum number of service providers were backed by Parliament in a vote on Tuesday 16 April. To guarantee a high efficiency of services and prevent social dumping, MEPs added minimum quality standards and safeguard clauses for staff transfers to the European Commission’s initial proposal.
Issue 6, 2012 / 7 December 2012 /
Airport Council International’s (ACI) recent announcement that year-onyear passenger traffic has grown by five per cent has, for now, caused some optimism within the industry. Unfortunately, such news is rare as the ongoing economic uncertainties continue to plague passenger numbers in Europe and North America.
However, one of the aviation industry’s many strengths is collaboration. Associations, suppliers, airlines and airports are constantly pushing the boundaries, even in times of financial downturn. It is encouraging therefore, to hear about the historical and essential alliance formed between airports and two of the world’s major aircraft manufacturers; Airbus and Boeing.
Earlier in 2012, International Airport Review (issue 3 2012) explored the collaboration between Airbus’ A380 and the airports’ acceptance of the aircraft. In this editorial we look at the integration of Boeing’s 747-8 wide-body jet airliner into the airport community with invaluable comment from Karen Dix-Colony, Lead Engineer of Product Development at the Boeing Airport Technology Group and a key figure in the aircraft’s successful development and integration within airports. (more…)
Airport news / 6 November 2012 /
Earlier this afternoon, the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport & Tourism (TRAN) rejected a proposal from the European Commission (EC) for a new Regulation on Ground Handling services at EU airports.
Issue 3 2012 / 6 June 2012 /
Five years after its maiden flight, the Airbus A380 continues to grow its operations around the world. Key to the aircraft’s smooth consolidation with airports was Airbus’ early involvement with ground handlers. In this special interview, Mark Glover from International Airport Review spoke to two of Airbus’ key figures in the imple – mentation; Peter Esteie, Head of Ground Operations and Thomas Burger, Product Marketing Manager of the A380.
Mark Glover: How successful has the A380 integration been within airports over the previous years?
Thomas Burger: Globally speaking we are very happy. We have 253 orders from 19 customers where all three global alliances are represented. The first delivery took place in October 2007 and today we have 72 aircraft in service. We have seven operators operating these 72 aircraft, flying across 54 routes to 28 destinations. In terms of seat count, the lowest of 407 is on board the Korean Air aircraft. Airfrance carries the most on its A380 with 538 seats.
The top ten A380 airports within the 28 destinations see 100 flights a day, which represents over one million passengers a month. The route lengths also vary, spanning from two hours from Dubai to Jeddah to 14 hours from Melbourne to Los Angeles. (more…)
Issue 3 2012 / 6 June 2012 /
Although the role of ground handling is fundamental to safe and reliable airline operations, historically it has not received as much attention as other areas of the business that directly influence revenues and costs. This may be owing to a number of factors. When airlines did everything in-house, the need to isolate and analyse operations around the aircraft for purposes of assessing risks and potential damage were lost in between different silos of the airline.
Today, third party handling is the norm – very different from the 75 per cent airline/25 per cent handler ratio back in 1988 when the first formal meeting of the IATA Ground Handling Council occurred. This transformation, which is part of a larger industry restructuring in which airlines moved away from activities seen as ‘non-core’, did not really re-focus management attention on the activity taking place on the ramp, which has now become a contractual relationship with a third party.
More recently, however, ground operations has received increasing attention, especially since the advantages of improving safety and reducing damage to aircraft and ground vehicles were estimated at around $4 billion a year. In a world of diminishing profit margins, increasing fuel prices and intense competition with its associated effect on revenue growth, it certainly makes sense to look at every opportunity to reduce costs and boost efficiency without compromising safety and levels of service. (more…)
Issue 5 2011 / 5 October 2011 /
Today there are a number of diverse technologies available to aid operational staff in their work to prevent runway incursions and excursions and assure runway safety. The kinds of technologies we refer to include systems for air traffic controllers, pilots and manoeuvring area vehicle drivers and provide an alert that a runway is in use or situational guidance to those operating on the manoeuvring area.
Runway alerting systems for pilots and vehicle drivers can be extremely effective but one significant drawback is that for many runway incursions the prime causal factor is a breakdown in communication between the controller and the vehicle driver or pilot – in short they believe they have received a valid clearance to enter a runway. Likewise for controllers, their surveillance based alerting systems have, and will continue to, save many serious incidents – however the alerting time on occasions can be very brief – almost too brief for any effective action to be taken. Consider the situation where a pilot, for whatever reason, crosses a runway holding point and starts moving towards the runway, he will get to the edge of the runway in seconds. In that time the system will need to detect the situation – alert the controller. The controller needs to work out from the display where the incident is and what the best course or recovery action is – and remember he may well be very busy. The situation and avoiding action needs to be conveyed to a pilot who needs to understand what is being said and react accordingly – clearly this could be very difficult in just a few seconds. (more…)
Issue 4 2011 / 8 August 2011 /
Many interesting and exciting developments have occurred since the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) began in May 2008. Back then, it was a grand plan to get ground operations audited in order to enhance safety on the ramp while reducing industry audits. Only three years after its introduction to the aviation industry, ISAGO has become a household name for quality audits, resulting in increased levels of safety. Now totalling more than 350 audits, ISAGO audits are being carried out in more than 120 locations worldwide.
The growth and development of ISAGO is the result of the dedication and vision of many key industry stakeholders. First and foremost, the 41 ISAGO pool member airlines have made the programme stronger than ever. Each one of them has provided numerous auditors in the implementation of stricter standards that no regulatory entity has ever implemented before. Ironic as it may seem, despite ground handling being such a very important component of the aviation industry, it nevertheless lacks standardised oversight. (more…)
Issue 6 2010 / 13 December 2010 /
Working airside has never been short of hazards. Airport operators and regulators have long concentrated safety planning on protecting those individuals working on ramps, aprons, taxiways and runways. Unfortunately, ground handling incidents continue to rise worldwide, resulting in injuries to personnel and damage to aircraft and property. Additionally, the use, and indeed, misuse of vehicles in airside areas has led to major operational disruption at busy airports. (more…)
Issue 5 2010 / 1 October 2010 /
The worldwide trend towards ever safer GSE
No airport in the world, be it the smallest, can operate today without some fleet of aircraft ground equipment (GSE). How is it possible, with so many equipment types in thousands of airports in all the countries in the world, to immediately know what a given piece of GSE, wherever it is used, is capable of? Standards are the answer. And standards for GSE have been developed over four decades by several organisations in the industry, culminating in International Standards that give them the necessary worldwide application. (more…)
Issue 3 2010 / 9 June 2010 /
Aircraft taxi operations are a significant source of energy consumption and emissions at airports. In 2007, an estimated 4,000 tons of hydrocarbons, 8,000 tons of nitrogen oxides and 45,000 tons of carbon monoxide were emitted through taxi-out operations at U.S. airports1. These pollutants contribute to low-altitude emissions, directly impact local nonattainment of air pollution standards, and represent an endangerment to human health and welfare.
Given increasing fuel prices and concern about aviation-related environmental impacts, airlines have implemented a number of practices to reduce fuel burn during ground operations. (more…)
Issue 2 2010 / 5 April 2010 /
Following on from the successful “Arrivals Code of Practice”, UK aerospace industry experts from the airlines, airports, air traffic controllers, CAA and DfT chaired by A|D|S, have been working towards a similar Code of Practice for Ground Operations and Departing Aircraft.
A ‘Departures and Ground Operations Code of Practice’ has been developed by experts in the UK from airports, airlines, the UK air navigation service provider (NATS), CAA, DfT as well as the aerospace manufacturer’s trade organisation, A|D|S, who took on the running of this project. The aim of this exercise was to try to define what current ‘best practice’ looked like and then attempt to promote this across the whole industry. One positive aspect has been that, along the way, the group has helped to dispel some myths and misconceptions, both at the UK and at the international level via ICAO.
Issue 4 2008, Past issues / 1 August 2008 /
There has been an almost global trend to reduce the economic regulation of transportation markets. This has sometimes extended beyond the airline market and is gradually being seen in other components of the air transportation supply chain, such as airports and ground handlers.
The aviation industry is undoubtedly among the fastest growing in the world today, be it in terms of aircraft fleet, traffic growth or even revenues. Faster and wider aircrafts have appeared on the scene, allowing a much wider range of travellers capable of indulging in air travel. With liberal policies, travellers are offered more choice and variety in their mode of travel. Competitive pricing of services and the advent of low cost and no-frills airlines will be the order of the day.
In recent times, global liberalisation has had a dramatic impact on many facets of life, possibly most so on the world economy, with countries opening up their doors to free trade and commerce. This openness in trade is the automatic cause of better products and services being delivered at better prices, making the consumer the kingpin in the market. (more…)
Issue 6 2007, Past issues / 30 November 2007 /
Ground handling and Ramp operations represent two of the most important aspects of an international airline’s operations. They affect the exercise of its basic market access rights. It is also an important factor for air carriers in terms of operating costs, service levels and the image portrayed to users. Ground handling is sometimes provided by the airports themselves, but at most airports it is provided by airlines or concessionaires.
An airport ramp is a community of relationships and its success relies on how well these relationships are working. Managers have to orchestrate a great deal of activity within a small area, around a magnificently expensive piece of equipment, in a very short space of time.
Ramp operations are a very important part of the whole operation of an aircraft. Ramp handling covers the loading and unloading of baggage, air cargo and air-mail onto the aircraft and transportation between the aircraft and the passenger terminal, air cargo terminals and the air-mail centre. In addition to this, ramp-handling services cover preparations for the delivery onto aircraft of bulk baggage and baggage containers, aircraft loading bridge operations and passenger stairs operations. As we can see, it is a very complex situation where delivery precision and safety are very important issues. (more…)
Issue 4 2007, Past issues / 31 July 2007 /
In this Q & A session we brought together three heads of ground handling from three very different regions, to see how their outlooks varied. (more…)
Issue 2 2007, Past issues / 3 April 2007 /
Athens International Airport’s mission in the area of ground handling can be summarised as “ensuring the reliable supply of quality services at an optimal price level”. In pursuit of this objective, Athens International Airport S.A. (AIA) is actively involved in a triangular relationship with the ground handling providers and the airlines, and cooperates closely with all other key stakeholders, including the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority, Customs and Police Authorities, and the various international air transport associations (ACI, IATA, EU DG Trend). (more…)