Safeguarding customers from harm as airlines transport them around the world is becoming core to the aviation industry's mission.
Yet safety is not an obligation for airlines alone, but ground handling providers as well. While airlines have similar operational practices appropriate to one common audit, things are more complex for ground handlers, covering activities as diverse as passenger and baggage handling, load control, and cargo handling, among others.
To ensure safety, DAS Handling Ltd, a ground handling firm at Entebbe International airport, has announced the successful completion of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO).
In a statement, DAS said it was certified by IATA in the operational disciplines of organization and management, load control, passenger and baggage handling, and aircraft handling and loading. Other disciplines include aircraft ground movement, cargo and mail handling.
"This is an important milestone for our company. It is an illustration of our commitment towards providing worldclass services to our customers with special attention to safety at the highest standards," said Marc Deleu, the managing director of DAS Handling Ltd.
The ISAGO programme is conducted by IATA, a trade association representing the world's 240 airlines, in a standardized and consistent manner, using internationally-recognized quality auditing principles. ISAGO aims to improve safety and cut airline costs by drastically reducing ground accidents and injuries. To respond to the diversity of ground services, ISAGO has been built upon a backbone of audit standards applicable to all companies worldwide.
Moses Enyaku, the DAS Handling Ltd's operations manager, who took the lead in this assignment, said DAS now joins a select group of 154 ground service providers registered worldwide under the IATA ISAGO programme.
"DAS has over the years invested substantially in training and equipment to ensure that its clients continue to enjoy highly professional services.
The company employs 322 people and its mission is to achieve sustained growth by providing services to its partners," Enyaku said.
Uganda's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has been in the news recently over safety measures and suspending airlines such as Air Uganda that do not meet these standards. Safety reports from IATA say that the ISAGO audit can be applied consistently to multinational ground handlers as well as to smaller companies providing services at a single station.
While commenting on the recent aviation tragedies, IATA CEO, Tony Tyler, said: "Every day, approximately 100,000 flights take to the sky and land without incident.
In 2013 more than three billion people flew and there were 210 fatalities. Regrettably, we have surpassed that number already this year.
But even so, getting on an aircraft is still among the safest activities that one can do."