This article has been divided into 7 parts:

1.1 Safety and The Air Transport Industry

1.2 Important Terminologies

1.3 How is safety and risk related ?

1.4 Examples of Risks Involved

1.5 Reporting of Accident, Incidents and Occurrences

2.1 Why Apron Safety?

1.1 Safety and The Air Transport Industry

Flying is the safest form of transport” – a common expression of which the aviation industry is justifiably proud because of extra miles walked by airport operators, airlines, pilots, aircraft manufacturers, air traffic control organizations and service providers to retain this good record and continually strive for improvement and ensure safety.

1.2 Important Terminologies

Movement Area: The portion of the airside used for the movement of aircraft. This portion is further divided into the Apron and Manoeuvring Areas.

Apron Area: Accommodates the loading and unloading of passengers and cargo, the refuelling, servicing, maintenance, and parking of aircraft, and any movement of aircraft, vehicles, and pedestrians necessary for such purposes.

Manoeuvring Area: Used for the takeoff, landing, and taxiing of aircraft. It includes runways, taxiways, high speed exits (taxiways enabling aircraft at high speeds to safely exit from runways), and apron entrances/exits (apron and taxiway intersections).

1.3 How is safety and risk related ?

All efforts for enhancing safety is directed by mitigating the risks and hazards and minimizing their affects/ consequence on operations.

So what are Risks and Hazards?

Risk – The assessment, expressed in terms of predicted probability and predicted severity, of the consequence(s) of a hazard taking as reference the worst foreseeable situation.

Hazard – A condition or an object with the potential to cause or contribute to an aircraft incident or accident.

Consequence – Potential outcome(s) of the hazard


Strong winds may become hazard as this may lead to undesired displacement of the ground support equipments that are not chalked taking into account the strong winds. These equipments may further hit the aircraft causing a loss of crores of rupees.  

Thus this requires safety measures to be incorporated against strong winds.

Now, risk assessments allow airport operators to develop an objective assessment of the risk associated with a specific activity. Different countries will have separate requirements depending on their local legislation and environment.

Now, safety can be defined as:

Safety – The state in which risks associated with aviation. activities, related to, or in direct support of the operation of aircraft, are reduced and controlled to an acceptable level.

1.3.1 Safety Concept Cycle

Any process related to any work may be divided into the following parts in order to have a process flow with acceptable level of risks.

The 5 simple steps listed below are the basis of a risk assessment

1.Identify the hazards

2.Decide who may be harmed and how

3.Evaluate the risks and decide whether the existing control measures are adequate or whether more should be done

4.Record the findings

5.Review the assessment and revise if necessary

1.3.2 Now the question arises how do you calculate risk?

Every Airport has its own safety management system (SMS) as prescribed by ICAO Annex 19 which provides an outline for hazard identification and analysis.

The next table will help you all understand safety parameters in the form of a table taken from Chapter 5 of ICAO Annex 19 (SMS) i.e. Risk index/tolerability .

This table is plotted for every risk or hazard identified at an aerodrome.

Basically each risk is categorized based on the probability of occurrence (1-5) and severity of the risk (A-E) which gives the risk index of that particular risk/ hazard.

Inference from the Table

Further based on the Risk Index the following actions are taken after further classification of the risks as per Classes I to IV.

1.4 Examples of Risks Involved:

Risks may be caused by human beings or natural calamities/ causes and extend to an extent that it may hamper business continuity. Let us have a look at the various risks at an aerodrome.

•Aircraft marshalling

•Bird and wildlife control and use of firearms

•Runway inspections

•Airside driving

•Runway change procedures

•Use of airport cleaning vehicles

•Use of airport snow removal vehicles

•Spillage clean-up process

•Use of air bridges

•Activation of low-visibility procedures (LVP)

Click on the link below to know more on LVP :</a>

•Removal of disabled aircraft actions

•Runway incursions

•Adverse weather operations

•Aircraft-aircraft collision on the ground

•FOD damage to aircraft

•Aircraft fire

•Major bird strike causing accident

•Loss of Supply of utilities or other essential services, Telecommunication and Fuel Services

•Loss of ATC services

1.5 Reporting of Accident, Incidents and Occurrences

There are a lot of accidents and incidents that occur at an aerodrome everyday. They may be as minor as a Ground Support Equipment getting stuck (1 A or 1 D) on a non operational area to as major as a runway incursion or excursions (5 A or 5C).

But reporting of the most minor incident is also very crucial so that such reports can be made pillars to construct an undefeatable safety management system.

As given in the image below you can infer that out of every 600 reported incidents and occurrences only 1 turns out to be fatal. This proves how important reporting of each incident, accident and occurrence is.

Convergence Probability as per ACI Airside Safety Document

Importance of reporting accidents, incidents and occurrences caused in airside areas :

1.Deal with the aftermath and effects

2.Report and record all the pertinent details to enable subsequent investigation

3.Ensure emergency services attendance

4.Establish safe temporary closures of the area affected

5.Clean up and return to service

6.Communicate with other airport users

Thus now we understand how crucial safety compliance is in the aerodrome environment. Further we will be focusing on safety at the Apron.

2.1 Why Apron Safety?

There are a large number of activities taking place on airport aprons, mainly within a congested and time-sensitive environment.

Ensuring a high level of safety on the apron by identifying the hazards and implementing mitigation measures in collaboration with the airport stakeholders falls under the auspices of the safety management system.

The responsibility of ensuring a high level of safety for all aviation related operations lies with the airport operator but must be shared with all involved parties.

For an elaborative description of safety related to various operations at the apron please refer to Apron Safety (Part 2 of 3).

Apron Safety (Part 2 of 3)

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