15 Years of Advancing Aviation Safety with IATA’s ISAGO

Operating for the last 15 years, IATA’s ISAGO is an industry programme for the global oversight of ground handling service providers (GHSPs) and is based on the IATA’s Ground Operations Manual (IGOM) standards.


IATA is advancing ground handling safety with ISAGO. CREDIT: IATA

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) has been advancing aviation safety for the last 15 years. ISAGO is an industry programme for the global oversight of ground handling service providers (GHSPs) and is based on the IATA’s Ground Operations Manual (IGOM) standards.

Since its launch in May 2008, over 3,000 audits have been conducted worldwide, making it the industry global standard for ground handling service providers (GHSPs).“Over the past 15 years, ISAGO has matured and evolved to become a centre of excellence for safety auditing in ground handling. With 195 organisations onboard it is now the driving force in improving ramp safety, reducing ground damage and enabling standardised and sustainable operations. It also plays a role in mitigating the billions of dollars of damage to aircraft and equipment that happens each year and helps airlines to allocate resources efficiently. More and more governments and airports now recognise ISAGO as part of their safety oversight programmes,” said Monika Mejstrikova, IATA’s Director of Ground Operations.

ISAGO Registry

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) and dnata Dubai were the world’s first ISAGO-accredited ground handling service providers and have maintained their ISAGO registration for 15 years. Both companies acknowledge the positive impact of ISAGO in their operations.

“ISAGO plays a vital role in enhancing aviation safety levels – in particular, by standardising many different safety standards and recommended practices and minimising the potential risks in ground handling around the world. It is an invaluable resource and significant safety driver for all parties,” said Wilson Kwong, Hactl’s Chief Executive.

The ISAGO Registry now includes 195 GHSPs that provide services at 324 accredited stations in 206 airports around the world. Over 100 ISAGO airline members have instant access to the ISAGO Registry, where they can access nearly 500 different ISAGO audit reports and drive more efficient oversight of outsourced ground handling services including risk, cost and audit reduction.

“ISAGO has been an integral part of our journey towards continuous improvement, and we are proud to have achieved this significant milestone. The positive impact that ISAGO has brought to our operations cannot be overstated, and we remain fully committed to upholding its rigorous standards,” said Jaffar Dawood, dnata Senior Vice President Airport Operations UAE, Middle East, and Africa.

Future Proofing ISAGO

ISAGO is constantly evolving to reduce duplicate audits and drive greater standardisation of ground handling processes worldwide. And to drive further simplification of audit processes and to ensure GHSPs’ readiness for the ISAGO audit, IATA launched the free Operational Portal to help GHSPs and airlines to perform a gap analysis between their ground operational procedures and IGOM. The tool helps to identify operational variations with the intention to reduce them and standardise procedures according to IGOM. In addition, a new checklist is being developed that mirrors IGOM and Airport Handling manual requirements, allowing for remote documentation validation through the Operational Portal. “We remain committed to evolving ISAGO,” said Mejstrikova.