Nobody ever said that ramps and aprons were particularly safe places, but the notion that ground accidents accumulate costs up to US$10 billion/year remains dumbfounding
Injuries and damage to aircraft, ground support equipment and facilities are a relatively common occurrence. Potential weak points leading to injury to workers include
- ignoring of standard operating procedures
- worker fatigue
- insufficient training
- high turnover among personnel
- tendencies of schedules to override issues of safety
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Staggering (hidden) Costs of Ground Accidents and Damage
The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) extrapolated data provided by an airline, took costs into the equation that before remained hidden in costs of maintenance, flight cancellations and schedule disruptions, and arrived at a sum roughly in the area of 4$ billion for the airline industry worldwide, and about $1 billion for corporate operators.
After including indirect costs stemming from personnel injury such as medical treatment, they doubled the intitial estimate, therefore estimating ground accidents to cause expenses in the area of a staggering $10 billion a year. The average cost of a single ramp accident is estimated at a $250,000. The lion’s share of this dumbfounding amount is not covered by insurance.
Ground Accident Prevention (GAP)
Headed by Robert H. Vandel, FSF executive vice president, and Earl F. Weener, Ph.D., a foundation fellow, the Ground Accident Prevention (GAP) program set out in 2003, drawing attention to what appears to be a severe safety threat, and aiming to improve conditions on the ramp.
Ground Accident Prevention Cost Model
Here’s just a quick overview of what should be taken into account when summing up costs of ground accidents:
- repair costs
- costs of maintenance
- flight cancellations
- schedule disruptions
- personnel injury
Obviously, depending on size and configuration of your fleet, individual costs vary. Fortunately, the Ground Accident Prevention company by now has developed a standardized system for analysis and provides a free of charge cost model calculator. Information isn’t transferred to the FSF Website, but estimates can be emailed or printed.
Best practice: E-tools designed to eliminate accidents and incidents
Besides the highly useful ground accident prevention cost model, the Flight Safety Foundation Ground Accident Prevention (GAP) program has worked out several more e-tools that can easily be accessed by ramp supervisors and workers. Among them is an instructional three-part video on towing corporate/business aircraft, tip sheets to be presented to managers in order to draw attention to the ramp safety problem, and more.
Based on data developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Flight Safety Foundation estimates that 27,000 ramp accidents and incidents occur worldwide every year, injuring about 243,000 people annually. That’s nearly 800 accidents a day, one accident per 1,000 departures, and 9 injuries per 1,000 departures. Clearly too much!
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