DGCA issues safety rules for ground handling service providers at airports

DGCA issues safety rules for ground handling service providers at airports
New Delhi: Aviation watchdog DGCA has come out with safety standards for ground handling service providers at airports, including the compulsory safety clearance requirement, as part of efforts to ensure safe ground operations amid rising air traffic.
The norms also come against the backdrop of ground incidents at some airports that have resulted in damage to aircraft.
The new Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), prepared after detailed consultations, will strengthen the oversight mechanism, DGCA said in a release on Wednesday.
It also specifies the training and competency requirements of ground personnel who are part of ground operations at the airports.
Ground Handling Service Providers (GHSPs) are required to obtain safety clearance within six months from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The six-month time period is from July 8, when the CAR was issued by the regulator.
"The robust safety mechanism to be implemented prospectively by GHSPs would help in prevention and mitigation of ground incidents at the airport thereby enhancing the quality of services rendered in safety-sensitive functions," the release said.
Under the new norms, GHSPs are required to appoint accountable managers, station managers and safety managers. Among other requirements, ground personnel have to undergo recurrent training.
Taking into account the phenomenal growth of aircraft movements, a corresponding increase in complexity of ground operations and the proliferation of third-party ground handling services, DGCA said it has become imperative to establish safety standards for GHSPs involved in ground operations of aircraft at Indian airports, an area which was hitherto uncovered under any existing regulations.
Larger aircraft, an increase in ground support equipment and faster turnarounds all contribute to the challenge of improving operational safety.
With the growth of air traffic and the proliferation of third-party ground handling services, ground operations on airport aprons have become increasingly complex and potentially hazardous, DGCA said.
Apron areas are often the most congested and busiest areas of an airport with aircraft turnarounds being carried out under limited space and time constraints.
"Unlike other areas of the aviation industry, the ground handling sector is currently not subjected to the level of regulation in areas such as flight operations, air traffic management and aerodrome operations.
Therefore, it has become necessary to develop the requirements to achieve operational safety at airports for aircraft operations," the regulator said.
India is one of the world's fastest-growing civil aviation markets and airlines are expanding their fleets.