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Cargo Operations

Safety in the air starts on the ground

Cargo handling is performed at thousands of airports all over the world by hundreds of handlers, big and small. This poses a high potential risk for deviations in quality and consistency of handling. IATA actively drives the development of ground handling operations standards, best-practice processes and procedures and promotes global consistency and harmonization.

Reporting jointly to IATA's Cargo Committee and Ground Handling Council, the Cargo Operations Advisory Group (COAG) has been established to bring together members from airlines and ground handling agents to address all aspect of cargo acceptance and handling. The mission of COAG is to:

  • Ensure the cargo operational aspects are taken into consideration by any other IATA programs that are impacting them, such as the e-Cargo initiatives
  • Review existing standards ensuring they include cargo operations or to develop new ones when appropriate
  • Review existing IATA Manuals, such as the IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM) and  the Airport Handling Manual (AHM) to reflect and document cargo operational procedures

Paperless acceptance practices included into IGOM

COAG has taken ownership of the cargo chapter in IGOM, together with the IGOM Task Force. Through extensive collaboration between those two groups, IGOM Chapter 3 has been amended to facilitate acceptance in an e-Air Waybill (e-AWB) environment. It includes now standard acceptance practices for e-AWB, as well as the operational elements of the single-process for the electronic document. Future work will include the rest of the warehouse operations, making sure that electronic processes are catered for.

The Standard Ground Handling Agreement

Together with the Aviation Ground Services Agreement Task Force (AGSA), COAG continues to review the Standard Ground Handling Agreement, part of AHM. The objective is to ensure that current and future cargo practices are addressed and improving the language related to cargo handling.

A Facility Capabilities Matrix to drive transparency & operational efficiency

Addressing the issue of deviations in quality and consistency of cargo handling, COAG developed a list of capabilities against which a cargo facility could be measured upon. The purpose of this matrix is to enhance cargo handling capabilities to a consistently high standard while identifying possible non-compliance in critical areas such as safety or security.

The Facility Capability Matrix is one of the IATA key objectives for 2014, as we believe it will contribute towards the reduction in transit times by 48 hours that is targeted by the industry. The matrix will begin its first pilot in 2014, with the aim to iron out inconsistencies in the provision of cargo handling infrastructure worldwide, such as cool-chain facilities.

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