It will come as no surprise that safety is on the lips of everyone in the aircraft industry. That’s why high value corporations such as IATA and SAE hold regular meetings and forums that bring together all those involved in the sector. The idea is to discuss, inform and work on new standards and regulations for safe cargo operations. Representatives come from all corners of the world to speak for airlines, ground service providers, freight forwarders, couriers, Unit Load Device (ULD) manufacturers and service providers, and aircraft manufacturers.
Correct handling of ULDs seriously neglected
Examples of the topics that preoccupy the industry are fire containment, special cargo restraint, ULD identification changes and cargo handling. The last is a particular hot topic. ULDs are designed and manufactured according to a wide range of standards and regulations, yet the handling of ULDs seems to have been at best neglected and at worst misused. Here’s a quote from Urs Wiesendanger, Chairman of IATA ULD Panel: ‘The vast majority of people working with ULDs have never received even 5 minutes of formal training and a trip to almost any airport or cargo facility will find ULDs being mishandled and mis-stored.’
It’s time to regulate and educate
Most ULD handling operations today are outsourced and performed by other parties such as shippers, freight forwarders, ground service providers, ground transportation providers, etc. Poor handling of ULDs leads to damage, which in turn leads to loss of airworthiness and ultimately an endangered flight. Regulations and education are essential for ULD and aircraft operations; otherwise, it just comes down to luck. And that has no place in aircraft operations.
Let’s highlight some impending meetings/conventions for you:
ULD CARE: 27th Annual Conference
8 - 11 September, 2014
ULD CARE is a not-for-profit Canadian corporation. Its membership is open to organisations whose scope encompasses any aircraft unit load device (ULD) activity. Their mission is to use the collective resources, skills and grass roots experience of the ULD CARE membership to provide direction and deliver appropriate change in ULD operations throughout the global air cargo operating environment.
This annual conference is called ‘A Call to Action’ and focuses on the safety of the ULD operations.
SAE: AGE-2 Air Cargo and Aircraft Ground Equipment and Systems meeting
15 - 17 September 2014
The SAE is a standards-setting industry leader, which has published more than 6,400 technical documents for the aerospace industry. The aerospace industry allows no compromises or negligence regarding safety and this means strict standards must be in place. The SAE arranges two meetings a year to discuss and develop new standards.
IATA: ULD Regulatory Forum + ULDP meeting
21 - 23 October 2014
IATA (International Air Transport Association) is the trade association for the world’s airlines. It supports airline activity and helps formulate industry policy and standards.
The forum will focus on clarifying the regulatory requirements around safe ULD operations as well as getting ready for the revision of FAA AC 120-85 (Air Cargo Operations). The ULDP/38 – ULD Panel meeting #38 - will then decide on enhancing the ULD Regulations 4th Edition, especially the guidelines for facilitating industry compliance.
VRR will be attending these meetings and we’ll report our latest findings to keep you up-to-date!