Cologne – On 7th March 2019, 200 participants from national aviation authorities, aircraft operators, aerodrome operators, groundhandling service providers (GHSP), and various aerodrome associations, aircraft operator associations, groundhandling associations and trade union associations attended the first EASA Conference on Groundhandling (GH).
This conference prepares the way for a European groundhandling roadmap and supports EASA in developing a European approach to ensure safety in groundhandling. Amongst others, the aim was to collect feedback from stakeholders on the draft GH Roadmap published prior to the conference and discussed with the audience.
At the same time, the purpose of the conference was to raise public awareness on this new domain that has entered under EASA’s remit. With the extension of scope of the new Basic Regulation (EU) 2018/1139, groundhandling activities will complete the European aviation safety map.
Opening the EASA GH Conference, Massimo Mazzoletti, Head of Strategy and Programmes Department of EASA, pointed out the extended scope of EASA as established by the New Basic Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 and clarified the legislator’s intention to put groundhandling on the European aviation safety map. He also highlighted that the GH roadmap was drafted by industry experts for the industry.
The conference was organised around six main areas of improvement in the groundhandling domain, namely:
- Management System
- Operational standards
- Ground Support Equipment
- Staff turnover
These key areas had been identified in the first phase of the GH project with the help of more than 45 interviews that EASA did with various stakeholders.
The different panel workshops provided valuable insights and helped the GH Roadmap to evolve into a consistent document, indicating EASA’s next steps in implementing its new mandate for groundhandling.
The conference ended with the wrap-up session where Jean-Marc Cluzeau, Principal Advisor to the EASA Executive Director, reiterated a few main points of the GH roadmap resulting from the conference presentations and discussions.
Looking into the future, EASA will initiate a rulemaking task and a safety promotion task to develop the necessary requirements and non-regulatory activities with the aim of increasing the safety level in the groundhandling domain. Close cooperation is envisaged with GH industry and national aviation authorities. The accomplishment of the GH Roadmap will rely heavily and consistently on the use of existing industry standards in the GH domain.