19 SEPTEMBER 2016
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The Airport Operators Association (AOA) is to be congratulated on its action in launching a UK Airports Safety Week. It’s one of those things everybody assumes is being taken care of – until we discover, usually in tragic circumstances, that it isn’t.
From today until next Sunday, in an initiative supported by the Civil Aviation Authority, airports across the UK will host events for their staff, staff of companies operating in and around the airports and the public to demonstrate and promote their approach to safety and safety culture.
The AOA says the project “is an opportunity to engage, inspire and educate about airports’ safety culture and philosophy”.
It adds: “Achieving UK airports’ excellent safety culture depends on the successful collaboration of many different partners. Whether landside or airside, the commitment of every person is essential to the delivery of the safest possible environment for all.”
Along the way, the week is also about demonstrating how airport safety is an integral part of the communities that airports serve, both by providing a safe and enjoyable travel experience to passengers and by providing important employment opportunities, including apprenticeships.
Activities taking place this week include visits by local schools, including a safety poster competition at some airports, and Foreign Object Debris, or FOD, walks to spot objects that should not be there, for example rubbish blown on to runways or taxiways.
There are also talks by airport police, occupational health specialists and others on drones and lasers, office safety and how to maintain optimal health around shift work through eating and sleeping well.
There will be first-aid training showcases to entice people to sign up for courses; speed checks for buses, cars and other vehicles driving around airports; demonstrations of how to help and support passengers with reduced mobility; airfield tours to look at stands and equipment areas and the different aspects of safety at each of those, and presentations on how aircraft are fuelled.
AOA chief executive Darren Caplan said: “Airports are like towns and cities where safety affects everyone from passengers to airline, airport and air traffic control staff.
“UK airports work hard every day to provide passengers with an enjoyable and safe travel experience. If we do our work right, much of this work will go unnoticed by passengers and staff alike.
“The safety week is an opportunity to bring all this work out into the public sphere and demonstrate to all airport users the many aspects of safety and safety culture at these places.
“It will be an opportunity to learn more about everyone’s role and contribution, as well as a chance to say thanks to the many thousands of workers who make UK aviation and airports one of the safest in the world.
“I look forward to seeing some of the activities this week for myself and I encourage everyone to get in touch with their local airport to hear how they are getting involved in this inaugural week.”
AOA operations and safety director Roger Koukkoullis added: "With passenger numbers growing at a record pace, AOA UK Airports Safety Week is an opportunity to demonstrate how the sector is not only working for the safety of passengers and staff today, but also developing for the future.”
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