If left unreported, this type of damage might result in serious aircraft damage

Airside vehicle-to-vehicle (and vehicle-to-infrastructure) incidents are often not recorded or treated with the same gravity as vehicle to aircraft incidents. We explain why these airside incidents are important and how they have a real impact on your bottom line.

Vehicle-to-vehicle, or vehicle-to-infrastructure airside incidents involve any mobile equipment without wings, such as cars, vans, trucks, baggage tugs, pushback tractors, hi-loaders, airbridges and passenger steps. It could be a simple “fender bender” on any of your ground handling equipment, or something more serious resulting in staff injury.

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) AHM 650 states that:

All ramp incidents and accidents, including damage to aircraft must be reported to both the employer and airline immediately by staff.

Whatever the case, airside incidents take up time and cause inefficiencies whether reported or not. Reported incidents typically lead to investigations which should seek to establish the root cause and identify measures to prevent reoccurrence.

But what difference does it make if you don’t investigate and prevent vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure incidents?

Reduced ground handling equipment efficiency

For those that are not reported, you’re not able to account for the real loss of time, and it is hard to prevent them happening again. And when incidents are happening regularly, they will start to be “a fact of life” and be factored into day-to-day operations, without anybody really asking questions because it is the norm. This in turn will impact valuable resources.

Damage to this wheel’s split-rim collar could put the driver and others at risk.

Damage to this wheel’s split-rim collar could put the driver and others at risk.

Impact on ground handling equipment safety

Even if there are few to zero instances of aircraft damage, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure incidents are clear indicators that there is a weakness in driver training or supervision. Unreported, unchallenged and unresolved vehicle-on-vehicle incidents could ultimately escalate to aircraft damage events.

A small unreported vehicle-to-infrastructure bump could also lead to a serious operational issue. For example, imagine a van makes light contact with a hi-loader during parking. The driver does not report the issue because there is no obvious damage. Later that day, the hi-loader approaches an aircraft during routine operations and a sensor that was damaged in the earlier incident fails, resulting in contact with an aircraft. In this example, a minor incident escalates to a much bigger issue.

Failure to report and investigate equipment incidents that do not directly involve aircraft, results in valuable information risks in your business being missed.

Poor effect on airside culture

If a safety culture matters to you and your airport, then you simply cannot ignore a chunk of incidents and near misses, after all, what message does this send to the airside community?

The missing brake block on this trailer means the equipment cannot be properly secured and could move.

The missing brake block on this trailer means the equipment cannot be properly secured and could move.

Rising costs

Airside vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure incidents will inevitably cause damage. However, unreported damage, if left, will only get worse, resulting in extended downtime and greater expense to rectify the issue – as well as the risk that the damaged equipment might damage other equipment or aircraft.

Reporting vehicle-to-vehicle incidents in good time and dealing with the aftermath quickly will result in shorter downtime because defects are not allowed to evolve into bigger problems. Stockpiling parts on the basis that incidents “are just a fact of life” ties up cash and does not deal with the problem at source. Tackling driver behaviour and promoting a culture of transparency and openness will help reduce incidents and ultimately the cost of repairs when damage does unfortunately happen.

This gauge is damaged and will no longer provide important vehicle information. When, why and how did it happen?

This gauge is damaged and will no longer provide important vehicle information. When, why and how did it happen?

See for yourself

Why not take a walk around your airside operation?

If you see damage to vehicles and equipment but little evidence of incident reports relating to the damage, there is potentially a weakness in your reporting and post-incident analysis processes, which should be tackled to prevent escalation.

For more information on how you could ultimately save money, reduce damage, improve efficiency and turnaround times through tailored airside solutions see www.rtitb-airside.com.