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The case for safety

Posted: 4 April 2013 | Gernot Kessler, Head of Airport Section, European Aviation Safety Agency | 1 comment

Airport safety has joined other criteria such as operational excellence, efficiency, customer service and environmental proficiency at the leading edge of performance for airports on the global scene, says Gernot Kessler, Head of Airport Section at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

We are fortunate to be able to look back at another safe year for European aviation, including a very promising airport-side incident record. And now, as we approach the end of the winter season, European airports have once again proved that they are able to cope with operations without allowing safety levels to be impaired.

Aspects of airport safety rarely get mentioned in public discussion, which tends to focus on economic and environmental matters or on occasional operational glitches. But there are other challenges which should be at the forefront of people’s minds.

Airport safety has joined other criteria such as operational excellence, efficiency, customer service and environmental proficiency at the leading edge of performance for airports on the global scene, says Gernot Kessler, Head of Airport Section at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).We are fortunate to be able to look back at another safe year for European aviation, including a very promising airport-side incident record. And now, as we approach the end of the winter season, European airports have once again proved that they are able to cope with operations without allowing safety levels to be impaired.Aspects of airport safety rarely get mentioned in public discussion, which tends to focus on economic and environmental matters or on occasional operational glitches. But there are other challenges which should be at the forefront of people’s minds.

Airport safety has joined other criteria such as operational excellence, efficiency, customer service and environmental proficiency at the leading edge of performance for airports on the global scene, says Gernot Kessler, Head of Airport Section at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

We are fortunate to be able to look back at another safe year for European aviation, including a very promising airport-side incident record. And now, as we approach the end of the winter season, European airports have once again proved that they are able to cope with operations without allowing safety levels to be impaired.

Aspects of airport safety rarely get mentioned in public discussion, which tends to focus on economic and environmental matters or on occasional operational glitches. But there are other challenges which should be at the forefront of people’s minds.

Forgotten challenges

Aviation is developing and expanding at a rapid pace, and lasting technological change is inherent to the industry’s future. Despite intermediate dips along this upward trend, we will, in the very near future, be looking at much more intense air traffic, which will also appear different in technological character.

‘Capacity crunch’ is a term we repeatedly refer to when looking at the ambitions of bodies that are contributing to new tech – nologies and operational concepts, such as the SESAR Joint Undertaking. These are set to play a vital role in the future of ground coordination, within a properly functioning gate-to-gate concept.

Like all other aviation actors, airports will have to properly respond to the speed of these upcoming challenges, which will naturally create safety consequences. Amidst this demanding environment of change, European airports will have to continue to tackle runway safety issues such as incursion and excursion hazards. Further work also remains in the context of de-icing techniques and procedures, while ground handling matters remain high on the safety agenda.

A new approach

European institutions are on the verge of finalising the new set of European airport safety rules, which are expected to be in force and operational by the end of 2013. This follows an intensive period of joint work with the industry and Member States’ authorities, coordinated by the EASA.

It is reassuring to see airports ready to invest their share by bringing their expertise to this initiative and be able to finally benefit from the developments. At EASA, we see the new regulatory regime as doing away with conventional opposing poles of the regulator on one side and the industry on the other – instead there will be a performance objective-based system of partnership which will employ techniques such as even more robust safety management systems.

We are thankful to the Airports Council International (ACI) Europe and other national authorities for paving the way for the implementation of the new set of rules, and for helping to minimise the initial burden that installing new processes and managing changes will inevitably lead to. A wide range of ACI workshops and technical conferences, scheduled in 2013, will be particularly helpful for all stakeholders.

This new system is designed to tackle future challenges and to ensure airport safety remains in a leading position, which is crucial in an industry environment that offers zero tolerance for error. It will assist us in keeping airport safety where it belongs: at the top of our agenda.

Biography

As Head of the Airport Section, Gernot Kessler leads airport rulemaking at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Gernot is an aerospace engineer and commercial pilot. He has previously worked in the civil and military airworthiness and main – tenance fields, as well within regulation and government. Before joining EASA in 2010, he advised the European Commission on policy matters in commercial operations, ATM and airports.

One response to “The case for safety”

  1. slzjg818 says:

    Thanks your help me.

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