You trust your flight crew and aircraft technicians with your personal safety while airborne and with preserving the asset value of your aircraft in flight and on the ground. You also trust them to make sure that your aircraft receives proper ground handling, both at home and on the road. That’s important because without proper procedures in place a number of things could go wrong including:
- An untrained handler could back a tow or fuel truck into your aircraft;
- Unless someone is specifically assigned to watch your aircraft’s wings as it is being hangared, a winglet could strike a door; or
- A fueling accident could damage your aircraft and harm your crew.
Even one “ding” is blot on an aircraft’s damage record, something you can ill-afford in today’s resale market. Add to that the actual cost of repairs, including parts, labor, and ferrying your aircraft to the maintenance facility, as well as your insurance deductible, finance costs, and substitute lift while your aircraft is out of service. Factor in the disruption to your schedule, and you’ll want to be sure that your aircraft receives the highest quality ground handling.
At a recent industry event, a large group of aircraft operators was asked whether they regularly screened prospective Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) for safety, training, and quality management. Only three said “yes.” FBO owners report that most conversations with aircraft owners and operators revolve around fuel prices, services, and facilities. You probably assume that a focus on safety is a given – and usually, it is.
But how can you be sure that your aircraft will be treated properly on the road, without conducting an onsite inspection of each of your destination FBOs?
A growing number of FBOs worldwide recognize that investing in safety is as important to you, their customers, as the upgrades to their services and facilities, and have adopted the International Standard-Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) Safety 1st program.
Launched in 2014, IS-BAH is the first and only global standard for safety management and ground handling of general and business aviation aircraft. Developed jointly by NATA and the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), IS-BAH provides FBOs with a tool to develop, implement, assess, and improve their safety management system and ground handling processes, and gives aircraft owners and operators an effective method to assess these processes. More than 70 FBO locations already have achieved Stage 1 Registration, and a complete list of FBOs worldwide which have achieved IS-BAH registration can be found here. For more information on the IS-BAH registration process and contents of the standard, contact IBAC or NATA.
Working in conjunction with IS-BAH to ensure safe and proper handling of your aircraft is the NATA Safety 1st Program. Originally developed in the mid-1990s, Safety 1st is the gold standard in FBO operational and safety training, currently in use at more than 800 locations worldwide. The program provides FBO employees with a unique mix of computer-based and hands-on training. Practical exams cover a wide range of safety and operational topics, including aircraft handling, towing, fueling, security, and customer service. Seeing the “Safety 1st” logo and employee certificates of completion displayed at an FBO is another indication of its commitment to the safe ground handling of your aircraft.
Together, IS-BAH and Safety 1st provide an efficient and effective way for your flight department or aircraft management company to assess your destination FBO’s commitment to ground handling safety. When your pilot or flight coordinator asks an FBO: “Are you IS-BAH registered and Safety 1st qualified?” it highlights the value that your flight operation places on safe ground handling and proper care of your aviation assets.
NATA’s online search tool allows owners and operators to quickly verify an FBO’s IS-BAH and Safety 1st status. The FBO Status Map displays every IS-BAH registered and Safety 1st qualified FBO globally, and allow operators to search by airport code, city, or FBO name.
You have a tremendous influence in how FBOs view and invest in safety.
Continuing advancement of ground handling safety is best achieved in partnership with FBOs, your aircraft operation, and you. BAA