Ramp Damage Costs! by Craig Baker



After my previous blog on the British Airways incident whereby the engine cowlings had not been secured after routine maintenance, it’s surprising to see yet another incident has happened this week for the carrier.

By no means is this a finger pointing exercise as it could happen to any carrier who operates in an intense operational environment while at the same time maintaining the highest level of safety practices.  In this incidenthttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/aviation/10131494/Baggage-handler-causes-4million-damage-to-British-Airways-jet.html it appears that a baggage handler inadvertently caused £4 million worth of damage by presumably leaving their luggage scanner resting on the engine inlet.  The aircraft taxied to the runway, ready to take off when the scanner was sucked into the engine.

This got me thinking, simple mistakes on the ramp do cost.  For example the cost of fixing a cabin door on an A330 is in the region of $400k+, so imagine if the air bridge rips the door off by accident because the operator was not concentrating, this would be significantly higher.

Air travel continues to be the preferred mode of transport within the world and clearly this is set to continue, with more and more airlines ordering new aircraft in bulk.  How can operators continue to operate safely with all the commercial pressures that impact them and have the competitive advantage?  The ramp area can be a really dangerous part of an airport to work in, with those dangers increasing if you are not completely aware of your surroundings and more importantly, if you are not able to identify any hazards and report them.

The British Airways incident could of course have been avoided, like in the maintenance area where engineers must register their tools they use before working on something and then subsequently returning them back when completed.  This could have been done by the baggage handler, whereby the handler’s scanner could have been checked that it had been returned to a storage area before push back, however, in reality it probably is something that they carry around all day so this approach may be completely impractical.

Before now, the question would have been “what really is the hazard on such a piece of equipment?”

Unfortunately the team at BA have discovered at their cost.

 

Original article source: http://tinyurl.com/oj64gzp

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