The IATA Safety Audit of Ground Operations (ISAGO)


IATA  ISAGO


As global aviation activity and complexity continues to grow, many methods are used to identify risks. One of these methods is audit, it is one of proactive safety management activity which based on identifying safety risks within the system before it fails, and taking the necessary actions to reduce safety risks.

ICAO define audit as “A proactive, core safety management activity for systematically assessing how well an organization is meeting its safety objectives and for identifying potential problems before they have an impact on safety."

 

Types of Safety Audits

Each aviation organization has its own quality assurance system which work as a monitoring structure – it's included QA audit "Internal auditing" - used to supervise the equipment, systems, and processes to ensure that all the standard requirements - set by both ICAO and the  Civil Aviation Authority- are met. While, States has a safety oversight system- regulatory safety audits "external auditing" - to promote aviation safety by observing and assessing the compliance of aircraft operators/service providers with the applicable regulations, procedures and recommended practices.

 

Audits may be conducted by industry associations or other third parties - third party audits "external auditing" - selected by aircraft operators/service providers. These external audits enhance the internal audit system as well as provide independent oversight.”

Auditing is one of the essential pillars of the services offered by IATA – as industry association- to the aviation industry. Many months ago, I had published article about IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) for airlines and airports and in this article, I will explain another type of audit offered by IATA " IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO)".

Ground Operations

To clear this definition, ground operations are conducted by ground service providers and include a wide range of services which aims at facilitating an aircraft flight or aircraft ground repositioning, preparation for and upon conclusion of a flight which include both customer service and ramp service functions.

After you gain the basic knowledge about the type of audits and the definition of ground operation, we will move on to another topic.

IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO)

The IATA Safety Audit of Ground Operations (ISAGO) program is an internationally recognized and accepted system for assessing the operational management and control systems of an organization that provides ground handling services for airlines (the “Provider”). ISAGO is based on industry-proven quality audit principles and structured to ensure a standardized audit with consistent results.

The IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) program has been introduced to compliment the IOSA program and is conducted to the same high standards that are expected when undertaking an IOSA audit.  The main aim of ISAGO is to enable ground handling service providers to operate to a single global standard which will contribute to safer operations and a reduction in accidents. It also helps to reduce the number of audits undertaken by several operators of ground handling service providers as the numerous audits can be substituted by a single ISAGO audit recognized by all operators.

Do you have an idea about the meaning of ISAGO Standards and Recommended Practices (GOSARPs), continue reading..

 

IATA ISAGO Standards

IATA ISAGO Standards are specified systems, policies, programs, processes, procedures, plans, sets of measures, facilities, components, types of equipment, or any other aspects of ground operations under the scope of ISAGO that are considered an operational necessity, and with which a Provider will be expected to be in conformity at the conclusion of the Audit.

Standards always contain the word “shall” (e.g. “The Provider shall have a process…”) in order to denote a requirement.

IATA ISAGO Recommended Practices

IATA ISAGO Recommended Practices are specified systems, policies, programs, processes, procedures, plans, sets of measures, facilities, components, types of equipment or any other aspects of ground operations under the audit scope of ISAGO that are considered operationally desirable, but conformity is optional and any action is at the Provider's discretion.

In IATA GOSM, Recommended Practices always contain the italicized word “should” (e.g., “The Provider should have a policy…”) to denote optional conformity.

 

ISAGO Standards Manual (GOSM)

IATA has developed a comprehensive set of ISAGO Standards and Recommended Practices (GOSARPs) contained in its GOSM. GOSARPs are used as the basis for an assessment (the “Audit”) of a Provider conducted under the ISAGO Program. The GOSM is the sole source of assessment criteria used by ISAGO auditors when conducting an Audit.

 

IATA ISAGO Audit Scope

Based on the ISAGO Standards Manual "IATA GOSM ( Ed 7, February 2018 ) ", the audit scope consists of:

·        Organization and Management (ORM);

·        Load Control (LOD);

·        Passenger and Baggage Handling (PAB);

·        Intentionally Open

·        Aircraft Handling and Loading (HDL);

·        Aircraft Ground Movement (AGM);

·        Cargo and Mail Handling (CGM).

Note: I couldn't find latest edition of GOSM.

 

Benefits of IATA ISAGO Audit

There are many benefits to Airlines, Ground Service Providers, and  Regulatory Authorities.

Benefits to Airlines

Airlines that are required to audit ground handling companies will benefit by:

    Reduction in number of audits

     Lower risk of ground damage

     Cost savings

     More efficient processes

     Improved quality standards

  Better understanding of high-risk areas within ground operations.

Benefits to Ground Service Providers

As for Ground Service Providers, the benefits include:

     Reduction of incidents and accidents

     Fewer injuries to personnel 

* Reduction of redundant audits from customer airlines

      Opportunity to refocus resources on operations

      Improvement of operational safety capability

      Enhanced company image and reputation

 

Benefits to Regulatory Authorities

Regulatory Authorities will benefit by:

    Enhanced regulatory safety oversight

    Uniform audit process and recognized standards

     Improvement of oversight by airport operators

 

IATA ISAGO Audit Registration

Based on IATA, Ground Service Providers (GSPs) that model their operations on the ISAGO standards are committed to operate to globally accepted industry best practices.

The ISAGO Registry lists companies which have undergone an ISAGO audit and complied with these requirements:.

1.      Successful completion of an audit at the GSP’s headquarters and at least one station.

2.      Addressed all audit findings within 6 months of the on-site audit meeting.

 

Conclusion

ISAGO aims to bring improvements, similar to IOSA, in safety and efficiency for airports, airlines and ground handling companies. It is an internationally recognized and accepted system for assessing the operational management and control systems of a company that provides ground handling services for airlines.

ISAGO is based on industry-proven quality audit principles and structured to ensure a standardized audit with consistent results.

The ISAGO program is intended to create an audit pooling arrangement whereby registration of the company itself, and of each ground station, will be accepted by IATA as demonstrating an acceptable standard of safety performance to any operator, without that operator having to conduct its own audit.

 

Further reading :

-        ISAGO Program Manual,IATA

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