Safety Promotion Initiatives

The European Strategic Safety Initiative (ESSI) was an aviation safety partnership between EASA, other regulators and the industry, and was discontinued in 2016. ESSI’s objective was to further enhance safety for citizens in Europe and worldwide through safety analysis, implementation of cost effective action plans, and coordination with other safety initiatives worldwide.

ESSI was launched in 2006 by EASA, as a ten year programme, and it had three pillars:

ECAST - European Commercial Aviation Safety Team.
It was closed on 22 March 2016. Functions are reallocated to the Collaborative Analysis Groups (CAGs), Member States' Advisory Body  (MAB) and its Technical Bodies (TeBs), Stakeholder Advisory Body (SAB) and its Committees, Safety Promotion Task (SPT) Groups and  Safety Promotion Network (SPN).

ECAST addressed large fixed wing aircraft operations, and aimed to further enhance commercial aviation safety in Europe, and for European citizen worldwide. Co-chaired by EASA and IATA, ECAST was a partnership between EASA, other European regulators and the aviation industry. ECAST was based on the principle that industry can complement regulatory action by voluntary committing to cost effective safety enhancements. ECAST cooperated with CAST in the US and with other major safety initiatives worldwide, in particular the ICAO Regional Aviation Safety Group (RASG) and Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programme (COSCAP).

The four main topics tackled by ECAST were:

EGAST - European General Aviation Safety Team.
It was closed on 20 April. Functions are reallocated to the CAGs, Sectorial Committee GA, SPT Groups and SPN.

Created end of 2006, EGAST was a voluntary safety partnership between GA associations, industry, EASA and other authorities from across Europe. It was the GA branch of the European Strategic Safety Initiative (ESSI). EGAST set up a forum for sharing best practices, improving data sources, and promoting safety. Building on existing initiatives undertaken at national level or by GA manufacturers, organisations or associations, EGAST was co-chaired by EASA and by the European Airshow Council (EAC), the European Council for General Aviation Support (ECOGAS) and the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA). EGAST mission was to promote and initiate best practices and awareness in order to improve safety for all sectors of General Aviation. EGAST assisted EASA and the industry focus their resources on combined safety promotion efforts to reduce accidents in General Aviation. EGAST counted more than 50 organisations and cooperated at international level with the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GA JSC), co-chaired by the FAA and by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) Air Safety Foundation.

EGAST produced valuable tools, guides and resources for the GA community: 

EHEST - European Helicopter Safety Team.
Closed on 11 October 2016, the EHEST community and its implementation team the EHSIT were re-established by the Rotorcraft Sectorial Committee on 25 January 2017 as the European Safety Promotion Network Rotorcraft (ESPN-R). The ESPN-R supports the RSC regarding Rotorcraft Safety Promotion.

EHEST brought together manufacturers, operators, research organisations, regulators, accident investigators and a few military operators from across Europe. Co-chaired by EASA, Airbus Helicopters and the European Helicopter Association (EHA), EHEST was the helicopter branch of the European Strategic Safety Initiative (ESSI), closed in 2016, and the European component of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST). EHEST was committed to the objective goal of reducing the helicopter accident rate by 80 percent by 2016 worldwide, with emphasis on improving European safety.

EHEST was composed of three specialised teams: 


Additional information:

ECAST Ground Safety

Efforts have focused on safety culture and human factors emerging in the aircraft turnaround process. Aircraft handling is a team effort. Team-related elements should be included in training of ramp personnel to optimise the use of people, equipment and information. The concept proposed has been called Ramp Resource Management (RRM).

ECAST addressed Ground Safety because of combined safety and economic aspects and because the topic was relatively poorly addressed in Europe at the time. Ground activities contribute to the safety of the flight but are also a source of risks and can contribute to accidents when these risks are poorly managed. Events related to ground activities are common in Europe, featuring quite strongly in safety reports. Whilst acknowledging that ground safety activities have an impact on flight safety (e.g. icing-related Loss of Control in Flight accidents), the safety of ground activities can and must also be addressed as such. Publications:

Publications: Ground Safety and implications on Flight Safety

IATA family of Ground Safety Products
ECAST promoted and contributed to the development of the IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM) and recommended using the other products of the IATA Ground Safety family: the Airport Handling Manual (AHM), the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and the Ground Damage Data Base (GDDB), accessible through the IATA Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) portal.

Research on Aircraft Ground Handling and Human Factors
The Air Transport Safety Institute of the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) produced two study documents on Human Factors in Ground Handling for the Civil Aviation Authority of the Netherlands and ECAST. The objective was to investigate the factors leading to human errors in ground handling, which may result in unsafe situations, personal accidents or incidents. The documents provide recommendations for ground service providers and the European aviation industry.

Publications: Research on Aircraft Ground Handling and Human Factors

Ramp Resource Management
The Ramp Resource Management (RRM) Training Syllabus has been developed by the ECAST Ground Safety Working Group (GSWG) and the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) as a means to address the human factors identified in the NLR/ECAST research.This RRM syllabus provides ground service providers and airports with contents suitable to develop and deliver a RRM training. The syllabus features various modules, each one addressing a different subject. Modules can be used separately. However, because all subjects are related and sometimes overlap, it is recommended to use the entire syllabus.

Indicative duration for this RRM training is four hours. Contents may be freely modified, added or deleted to best suit local situations. A training course is only as good as its instructor or facilitator. The selection of the right instructor is paramount to the success of the course. Some background in team training, safety culture, psychology and/or human factors is recommended. And the most important instructor attributes are motivation to deliver the course and conviction that it will contribute to enhance safety.

RRM training is a useful tool to improve ground handling safety. However, it is only one of many tools required in a safety management system. All these tools should be used to make a positive impact on safety.

Publications: Ramp Resource Management

Conditions of Use: You may freely use and personalise the product, change the template and add your Company logo. However, you are requested to keep the ECAST and the NLR logos used in this standard version.