ACI Director General Angela Gittens said, “Our industry has undergone much change since ACI was founded 20 years ago in 1991, and the need for our strong airport voice has grown. We have witnessed a progressive evolution in airport management that has tipped the scales from the public utility model that characterized us to an entrepreneurial business model that prizes management efficiency, financial vitality, and customer service excellence and retains the traditional values of safety, security and environmental responsibility. That model requires that we chart our own course, initiating action and taking a leadership role, rather than merely drifting through the channel designed for us by others.”
Members of ACI were presented with a proposal for a new safety initiative, developed with the seal of approval from ACI World Governing Board. Gittens comments, “The new programme will be called APEX in Safety, which stands for Airport Excellence in Safety. Air transport is today the safest form of transportation available, and we will focus our efforts on upholding universal standards and improving on this excellent performance record.”
The initiative has been formulated based on extensive consultation with a variety of stakeholders, including an initial survey of ACI members, the ACI World Safety and Technical Committee, the ACI Regional offices and their regional safety committees and with ICAO, the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization. Policies and standards set forth in the Chicago Convention and its annexes will underpin the program directives and pilots, while also incorporating guidance and best practices to ensure engagement of members at all levels of compliance.
Mr Ad Rutten of CEO of Schiphol Airport, and World Governing Board Liaison to the World Safety and Technical Committee, presented the safety proposal parameters and objectives to the assembly. This multi-pronged proposal is designed to unite all regions in a proactive global safety improvement initiative which will focus on a management systems approach and in particular on runway safety improvements. Documentation, training, and mutual assistance based on a strong airport-to-airport mentoring program are key pillars of the new initiative and will be tested through pilot programs involving each of the five regions.
Rutten set forth the facts: “There is a compelling case for change and action. ICAO findings, from the audits they have performed in recent years (2005-2010), show that 58% of audited states have not established procedures for aerodrome certification; 69% of audited states have not established a runway safety programme. According to the Flight Safety Foundation, 30% of major damage accidents that occurred between 1995 through-2008 were runway related.”
The APEX in Safety objective is thus to ensure that all airports have the necessary knowledge, management structures and assistance they need in order to implement international safety standards and meet audit requirements.
ACI was a key contributor to the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) cross-industry “Reducing the Risk of Runway Excursions” report Published in May 2009 and helped develop guidance material at the conclusion of that effort. The findings and guidance will be incorporated in the new ACI initiative. Furthermore, ACI will build on both ICAO and FSF principles of non-punitive data reporting and data sharing in order to identify safety gaps and effective remedial actions.
ACI Chair of the World Governing Board, Mr Max Moore-Wilton says, “ACI, as Voice of the World Airports, working with ICAO, is in unique position to contribute. The programme components are practical steps that will produce results. On the eve of our 20th anniversary as an effective global association, I am pleased to see that our members are united behind this effort. Safety has been a key priority since the creation of ACI as a world organization in 1991. ACI World, the five ACI Regional offices and six safety committees will be working closely together to ensure successful follow through and implementation. This is an exciting step forward in fulfilling the organization’s mandate to enhance safe and secure travel for passengers worldwide.”