BERLIN — The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today announced the launch of a safety campaign to reduce the number of ground handling incidents involving Unit Load Devices (ULDs).
Through raising awareness of the need for careful handling of ULDs across all touch points, the campaign seeks to minimize flight safety risk and reduce the number of incidents of aircraft and container damage from mishandling. IATA’s target is to save the cargo industry around US$264 million annually through promoting better ULD handling.
Announcing the launch of the program at the 10th World Cargo Symposium in Berlin, IATA’s Global Head of Cargo, Glyn Hughes, said, “The number-one cause of aircraft damage from ground loading equipment is from mishandled ULDs. In addition to the high costs involved in repairing damage to aircraft, maintenance to ULDs also incurs significant costs. Last year the industry’s ULD repair bill was $330 million, however it is estimated that 80 percent of these costs could be saved through correct handling.”
ULDs are also essential to flight safety; correct onboard loading is critical to ensuring a safe and balanced aircraft load. Yet, due to the fact that they are the only aircraft part to leave control of the airline and return after passing through many ‘unregulated’ (not directly covered by airworthiness regulations) hands, the ULD handling process is open to vulnerability. This makes it even more essential that everyone handling ULDs must not only be properly trained but also have a wider understanding of the impact of ULD mishandling.
IATA’s ULD Safety Campaign targets all stakeholders in the ULD value chain from ground operations staff through to regulators. It recognizes that each audience has a different part to play in the safe and the correct handling and movement of ULDs.
The campaign will be rolled out across the industry throughout 2016, in parallel with the ULD Regulations (ULDR), a single set of regulatory requirements and industry standards applicable to overall ULD operations developed by IATA.
“Correct handling of ULDs is not only essential for safety on the ramp and in the air, it is also about pursuing greater service quality for air cargo’s customers. Working across the industry to raise awareness and change behavior, this campaign is a part of our broader industry transformation agenda of improving the value proposition of air cargo,” Hughes said.
Cargo stakeholders can download more information, visual displays and get more details of IATA’s ULD regulations at the IATA Booth at WCS or iata.org/ULD.