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IGHC Conference Blog - Day 1


Is Ground Damage inevitable?

Monday, May 06, 2013 5:00PM (PST)

More than 50 IGHC delegates attended the workshop on the GDDB presented by Nancy Rockbrune and David Anderson.  The IGHC was a good venue to showcase the next phase of GDDB – which has recently moved from a limited involvement initiative to a point where more participation is being actively sought.  The GDDB task force has focused its activities on developing reporting parameters and definitions to allow for effective data integration and statistical analysis. This information will produce trends and identify areas of concern which will be directed to appropriate working groups and task forces for resolution. Now complete, the focus for 2013 is on increasing participation.
A good start has been made on this front with 6 new contracts having been signed so far this year.  Considerable work is also being done to ensure that the IT support for web-forms, automated quality check and a query tool – amongst others – is capable of dealing with the expected increased data collection and processing requirements.
As an illustration of the GDDB’s potential, Nancy and David outlined several examples of what information is already available from the very limited data that it currently in the system.  This shows some good news already in that major damage is being “reported” rather than “found”.  They were at pains to emphasize that there is insufficient data at this point to be able to call the results statistically relevant, and also to assure delegates that all analysis and information shared is de-identified.
To move the GDDB to the next stage, that of becoming statistically relevant, commitment by many more participants is required.  The delegates present were invited to join up and participate.  It is anticipated, that with enough data and the supporting planned enhancements, it will be possible to not only direct WGs and TFs to problem areas, but also to be able to take proactive and pre-emptive action before an incident occurs.


Getting up to date with SGHA 2013

Monday, May 06, 2013 4:15PM (PST)

The SGHA workshop saw a huge turnout with room full with delegates interested to find out more on SGHA 2013. The session was moderated by Dimitrios Sanos of IATA and facilitated by AGSA Chairman & Vice-Chairman & IGHC Officers. IGHC Officer, Henrik Ambak opened the session by highlighting the key changes in the 2013 version with significant revisions in the Main Agreement and Annex A.
Dimitrios kicked off the Q&A session by asking the floor who has started using the 2013 version, and majority of the participants indicated that they were still using the previous version.  The main question asked was on the main differences between the 2008 and 2013 version. As such, IGHC officers walked participants through various key sections to better educate the participants on this latest version. In summary, lines that were becoming irrelevant have been taken out. Attempts were made to simplify the verbiage for people who need to translate various terms.
Marsha did a quick poll to ask who amongst the audience was using the agreement without formal training, and we found out that majority have not undergone the IATA SGHA training. Those who have, found the training useful, and recommended for others to take up the training. The workshop concluded with the IGHC officers encouraging participants to start exposing themselves to the latest version of SGHA.


Getting involved in ISAGO – the new strategy

Monday, May 06, 2013 3:30PM (PST)

Monika Mejstrikova, John Kleberg and Max Corsi elaborated on the short ISAGO presentation given this morning.  With over 60 delegates in attendance, John demonstrated how ISAGO has made a difference for United Airlines, which prompted David Tabb from Skystar Airport Services in Perth, Australia – and recent ISAGO registered GSP – to relate his company’s positive experience with ISAGO.  With 10 years of data collected, David was pleased to point out that since ISAGO registration their injuries have dropped significantly due to the change in culture in their staff which was brought about by the ISAGO audit program regime.
While there are success stories, John was clear that ISAGO has been set some challenging targets for the coming periods without being able to get ISAGO mandated.  This is being worked at, but the new strategy also looks at new initiatives for engaging more interest in ISAGO by admitting IOSA registered airlines into the pool even if they are not IATA members, workshops for Regulators are helping change the regulatory landscape, but this can be a lengthy process as it often involves a mindset change.  Commercial audits, regional meetings and leveraging IOSA round out the avenues being pursued.
John also mentioned the journey United had followed – from disinterest several years ago, to full supporter of both ISAGO and IGOM now.  One of the GSPs indicated that perhaps “Audit tourism” had something to do with their seasonal increase in number of audits, which runs counter to the aim of ISAGO which is to reduce audits.
In short, the industry really wants ISAGO to continue and grow, but for that to happen, the industry must ACTIVELY participate.


New IGHC Officers voted

Monday, May 06, 2013 1:15PM (PST)

2-year term: Henrik Ambak, VP, Ground Services & Commercial IT, Cargolux Airlines Intl. S.A.
1-year term: Roger Walton, Manager Airport Services, TNT Airways s.a.

2-year term: Bob Gurr, Director Sales and Marketing, BidAir Services (Pty) Ltd.
2-year term: Mohamed Hanno, Executive Chairman & CEO, ASE – Aero Services Egypt

Let’s give a warm welcome to these gentlemen.


Urs Wiesendanger on ULD Care

Monday, May 06, 2013 1:00PM (PST)

If you thought ground handling was sometimes a neglected aspect of the industry, try ULDs!   Urs Wiesendanger unlocked the door to the secret world of aircraft containers and pallets, by introducing ULD CARE to the delegates.  Building on the conference theme, he asked delegates not to risk it, but to CARE for it.  Urs first dispelled some myths and legends about ULDs with a definition, and then went on to introduce ULD CARE as an organization with a wide membership, and a lot to offer the industry – from real-time tracking, through demurrage charges to comprehensive annual conference dealing with all manner of ULD matters.  As Urs pointed out, when ULDs are not on aircraft, they are on the ground – sometime literally so – and they are therefore an integral part of any ground operations and thus of interest to our group too.  ULD CARE is holding its annual meeting concurrently with IGHC and Urs outlined areas that would interest IGHC.

Reports from GHC and Task Forces

Monday, May 06, 2013 11:00AM (PST)

GHC Marsha Ragusa and Bob Gurr laid out the role of GHC which is to shape the IATA ground handling initiatives and programs, giving direction to the 5 year agenda.  GHC is founded on 4 pillars, namely: Safe Flight; Operational Efficiency; Open and Effective Market, and Sustainability.
The most important focus areas are:
• Aligning the AHM and IGOM
• Integrating the IGOM, ISAGO, GDDB and IOSA
• Promoting the implementation of IGOM globally

Jan van der Veer and Nick Yeadon indicated that AGSA is expecting a – slightly – quieter period now that the 2013 SGHA has been published.  However, with the 5 year plan in place and underway as well as Article 8 being back on the agenda as a result of the AEA paper, this might not be the case for Team 1.  Team 3 will continue revising their parts of Chapter 8 of AHM.

With GSEE concentrating on the ramp equipment, the focus is on “GREEN”.  Peter Esteie also indicated that GSEE is liaising with other standards bodies such as SAE and ISO to ensure that chapter 9 of the AHM is up-to-date.  He also noted that the group will be working on a new specification for sub-freezing air conditioning.

This very “techie” work group was introduced by Chairman Graeme Dewdney.  They are responsible for the AHM chapters 5 and 7, and liaise with a number of different external and IATA groups to ensure that load control and messaging is right up to the minute.  With this group it is especially important to that new information and changes are represented as quickly and accurately as possible.
The Airside Safety Group has a new role in the AHM – providing policies, guidance and interpretation from the safety perspective for IGOM, IOSA and ISAGO.  The focus here as Gerry McGill and Sharif Hassan pointed out, was the harmonizing of the AHM and IGOM – specifically in chapters 4 and 6

Represented by Mike Thuersam, this newest of IATA task forces was pleased to share the news that the second edition of IGOM was released in April, along with a new process for receiving state and airport variations.  He also indicated that from 2016, the plan is to use IGOM guidance for IOSA and ISAGO.

IATA was also very pleased to present a certificate of recognition to the LATAM Group for being the first airline to adopt IGOM in its entirety.  Mike called Joseph Suidan to the podium to present the certificate to Yndhira Shilleh of LATAM.

Recognizing our Pioneers

Monday, May 06, 2013 10:00AM (PST)

Service to Industry presentation to Mike Firsowicz
Before introducing the new candidates to the IGHC members, Marsha and Joseph first needed to wrap up part of the past.  They were pleased to have Mike Firsowicz in attendance to receive a “suitable” Canadian gift from IGHC for his many years’ service to the IGHC community.
Introduction of Officers
Looking now towards the future, Joseph Suidan introduced the candidates who stood for the position of IGHC Officer.
For the two airline officer positions there were:
 Astþór Ingason, Icelandair
 Christian Bergfelder, DHL Air
 Henrik Ambak, Cargolux
 Roger Walton, TNT Airways
Reconfirmed for the two GSP officer positions were:
 Bob Gurr, BidAir Services
 Mohamed Hanno, ASE–Aero Services Egypt

IGHC membership is worth it?

Monday, May 06, 2013 9:40AM (PST)

Marsha started her introduction to this year’s event with a brief review of IGHC’s structure and place in the industry. The IGHC is unique within IATA in that this is where the airlines and ground handlers meet on equal terms.  Given this grouping and considering that IATA uses the revenue that is generated for producing industry standards, procedures and publications – there is little doubt that the costs associated with IGHC membership or attendance are worth it. What is needed now is to really elevate this event to make it THE premiere international ground handling event and expand its scope by further encouraging airports and regulators to join the ranks.

With the “Don’t risk it …Manage it!” theme, Marsha went on to point out that managing risks is more than applicable to the people in procurement and contract management.  With IATA’s initiatives, it is also up to industry to get it right and make risk mitigation a fundamental thread that runs through and connects all of our efforts to reduce injuries, costs and damage.

Opening Remarks: Jens Bjarnason, Director, Operations, Ops, IATA

Monday, May 06, 2013 9:30AM (PST)

It has been 35 years since Jens started loading baggage onto aircraft, and he was pleased to be able to come to where it all started in ground handling. Since his last meeting with everyone in Prague, he noted that there has been significant progress with ground operations, but there is still plenty of scope for innovation and development.

Summarizing the sometimes zig-zag path the history of ground handling has followed, Jens took us through from the times more than 25 years ago, when each airline was on their own with the ground handlers, up to the present where airlines and GSPs are working together to improve the industry for the benefit of all concerned.   He highlighted IGOM and ISAGO, both major recent initiatives are in their own right, but that their most important feature is the deliberate aim to integrate them and to align them with the airport handling manual.  This marks the stage where the industry at last has a dedicated group of people within an airline body whose function it is to deal with matters on the ground and who are specifically tasked to ensure that ground operations coordinates its activities with the many other aspects of airline operations that interface with what happens on the ground.

He further elaborated on the development of the GDDB and stressed the importance of contributing data to this program to start being able to develop and analyze trends to direct our efforts to improve the industry.


Host Airline, Air Canada welcomes everyone to Vancouver

Monday, May 06, 2013 9:20AM (PST)

Janet Wallace, Director of Airport Services, Contracts & Administration at Air Canada welcomed delegates to Vancouver and emphasized again the pleasant weather here. She gave a brief outline on the importance of development of air transport in Canada, where air transport is still often the only way to get passenger, cargo and mail into the great white north. She noted that because of the sometimes extreme weather conditions, Canada’s air transport is known for innovative ways of dealing with ground handling challenges, which is why it is important for Air Canada to host the premier IGHC event in Vancouver this year.

The singing ground handler

Monday, May 06, 2013 9:03AM (PST)

Reflecting the new focus on ground handling, Joseph Suidan, known for thinking out of the box, threw caution to the wind and launched into song with a new variation on the old theme – Ground Handling Actually – about why we all – despite its occasional headaches – actually love our industry.  Check out the lyrics here and make sure this catchy number sticks in your head for the duration!

A warm welcome to IGHC Conference delegates in sunny Vancouver

Sunday, May 05, 2013 9:47PM (PST)

IGHC kicked off on the evening of Sunday, May 5 with a welcome reception by renowned IT provider for the global travel industry, Amadeus, held in the exhibition center of the Westin Bayshore.  This merged seamlessly with the Welcome on Board / Bienvenue à Bord session in the afternoon where newcomers got the chance to meet with the IGHC officers and Task Force chairs and vice-chairs and find out more about the working of the IGHC.  With the newer members well inducted, the Amadeus crew helped everyone mingle and get talking, by sponsoring this traditional opening gambit for the 26th event. 

With the weather aiding Amadeus’ generous hospitality, everyone relaxed and got acquainted.



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