Ground collisions between aircrafts understandably make for front page news. Less dramatic, though far more common, are incidents involving aircrafts and ground service equipment (GSE) or Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD). In fact, such occurrences are so widespread that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently reported that airside damage to aircraft costs the aviation industry around $5billion each year, with this amount predicted to double by 2035. Keeping the apron as orderly and streamlined as possible then is big news in aviation.

Find out how AIRDAT can help reduce the risk of airside incidents

Is airside clutter inevitable?

Keeping the airport ramp, taxiway, runway and airfield clean and clutter free is of paramount importance. The Australian Airport Association (AAA) run FOD walks during the AAA Airport Safety Week as an educational experience for the airport community, demonstrating the dangers posed by FOD. It is routinely emphasised to aviation employees and airport staff that any FOD is removed or reported to maintenance staff immediately.

Failure to remove or report FOD do so can result in huge and unnecessary costs (as illustrated above). While some element of FOD will be unavoidable – think litter, baggage debris etc. – there’s another culprit that’s wholly preventable with the right systems in place and that’s faulty or broken-down airside vehicles or equipment. Broken dollies, unserviceable tugs, unsecured baggage cans can and do cause serious damage to aircraft – particularly in the event of high winds and storms.

Why maintaining airside cleanliness is critical

There are obvious implications to faulty vehicles remaining airside. Who can forget the images of a catering cart careering out of control at Chicago’s O’Hare airport? In addition to the gargantuan costs and severity of delays, should derelict vehicles or FOD come into contact with aircraft, there’s also the compromised safety of passengers and airport staff to consider. 

6 ways AIRDAT’s Onboard can help aviation experts to control and monitor airside cleanliness 

AIRDAT’s Onboard system and particularly the capabilities of the Vehicle Permitting system, has been designed to support the aviation industry in managing and controlling the standards of all airside vehicles and equipment. Here are six vital ways AIRDAT can help prevent airside incidents caused by faulty or defective vehicles and equipment.

1. Airside Impounding Scheme

Discovered a defective vehicle or a tug parked in the wrong spot? Or has the Visa app revealed expired insurance or a lack of permit? This becomes a thing of the past with the impounding scheme in the AIRDAT Onboard system. As with all AIRDAT products, the system is intuitive and easy to use, simply scan the vehicle or equipment QR code using the VISA app and Fleet will trigger the initial notification, issue charges and record the process right the way through to release or disposal. Onboard makes the process of flagging defects, imposing fines and impounding faulty vehicles simple, helping airports to maintain the highest safety and compliance standards.

2. A consolidated registration system

Keep on top of redundant GSE with permitting. AIRDAT’s ONBOARD system  tracks vehicle age and permit status and allows airports to set the validity of questions they need to ensure compliance. The system places senior stakeholders firmly in control as they can issue and control vehicle and equipment permits. External organisations can make their applications only when fully compliant, giving airport staff the peace of mind that everything is as it should be. What’s more, the consolidated system means contracts, permits and policy documents can be made available to relevant parties immediately by simply scanning a QR code (even while on the go) with the VISA smartphone app.

3. Automated alerts

The AIRDAT Onboard system allows for continuous automated monitoring of permit expiries to give the airport confidence that everyone operating airside is fully compliant. So no more expired insurances and worrying about whether there is cover when an aircraft has sustained damage. All relevant parties will be alerted when airside vehicles have permits, insurance or tax that are expiring or due for renewal at 3 months, 1 month and on the day. If insurance expires, the company will be denied from applying for permits.

4. Defect flagging

Use the Visa app to immediately flag defective vehicles and equipment. Simply scan the relevant QR code to report issues and a notification will be sent to all appropriate parties. Until the equipment is repaired to the relevant standard, no permits can be issued. So, if there’s a vehicle airside that shouldn’t be there, the airport team and responsible persons will know about it right away. 

5. Communication and coordination

With multiple parties operating airside including airport employees, ground crew, maintenance personnel and contractors, clear communication is imperative. AIRDAT’s cloud-based systems have a communication tool that connects companies with the airport they’re working at. Chats are visible to the airport so progress can be tracked more easily. What’s more, all data is readily available in one easy-to-use smartphone app, making real-time communication and coordination seamless.

6. Airside Training

At the heart of all good working practices is a well-informed workforce. Airside training ensures that all aviation staff understand and adhere to all safety and compliance procedures when operating airside. AIRDAT offer comprehensive onsite, e-learning and simulator training that can be made available for all staff and contractors to ensure competence and awareness in the field of airside safety. What’s more the system can be personalised and new courses authored, distributed and tracked to suit an organisation’s individual needs. Then, once complete, training records will be documented and readily available via the VISA app.

The final word

The importance of a clear airside space cannot be overstressed. As well as complying with aviation regulations, a clear airport apron will ensure aircraft safety, runway integrity and minimise potential delays and disruption. Airports are increasingly looking to prioritise runway safety and cleanliness and AIRDAT is committed to assisting with this endeavour.

Get in touch with the AIRDAT team to discover how we can help your airport clean up the airside graveyard.