DGCA: Safe airside: DGCA issues rules for ground handling agencies working at airports

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NEW DELHI: In a first, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has come out with safety standards for ground handling service providers (GHSPs) working at Indian airports. The regulator has issued a set of rules that aim to provide for safe ground handling at airports given the “phenomenal growth (in) aircraft movements, corresponding increase in complexity of ground operations and proliferation of third-party ground handling services,” said a senior DGCA official. Ground handling agencies will have to implement these rules within six months. This was an “area hitherto uncovered under any existing regulations.”
Among other things, the new rules provide for installing speed guns at the airside of airports and also require installing speed governors in some vehicles. Airside of airports often witness accidents involving vehicles being driven there.
“Ground handling agencies are a critical element of the airport aviation ecosystem. The safety, efficiency and reliability of flight operations, in turn, are dependent, on the safe and efficacious functioning of ground handling agencies,” the official said.
The regulator published a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on July 8, 2024, prescribing the framework for safe operations by GHSPs “after an extensive consultation process” with all stakeholders. “The implementation of this CAR will standardise requirements across GHA’s and strengthen oversight mechanism.
This CAR also specifies the training and competency requirements of ground personnel who play a pivotal role in safe and efficient ground operations at the airports. The GHA’s have been given a time frame of six months to comply with the provisions of this CAR. The robust safety mechanism to be implemented prospectively by the GHSP’s would help in prevention and mitigation of ground incidents at the airport thereby enhancing the quality of services rendered in safety sensitive functions,” the official added.

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