Audit of ground operations

Ground operations consists all ground-based functions other than engineering and includes:

  • passenger handling
  • aircraft loading
  • catering
  • freight.

You must conduct regular audits according to your safety management system.

Audited areas of ground operations

You should ensure you regularly audit the following areas:

  • ramp, check-in and warehouse staff
  • ground operations office staff involved in the development of:
    • manuals
    • procedures
    • training
    • investigations
  • management staff with ground operations safety responsibilities.

Staff training

You must train all staff who load/unload aircraft, prepare cargo for transportation, prepare loading documentation, and who calculate an aircraft’s weight and balance if they are not a pilot of the aircraft according to CAO 20.16.1 - Loading.

Approved loading system

If your aircraft has an approved loading system, the operator and the pilot-in-command must ensure that the aircraft is loaded at all times in accordance with that system (if you have one).

Note 1 Section 100.7 requires all aircraft, except balloons, to have a loading system. The exception is if you can show that the aircraft can't be loaded so that its centre of gravity falls outside the approved range, observing all limitations on compartment loads.

CASR 90.405 states that each compartment for cargo, baggage or both (goods) in the aeroplane must have a means to restrain goods. This is to protect the aeroplane's occupants from injury in the event of the aeroplane being subjected to a forward inertial load of up to 9 g when the compartment is carrying the maximum weight of goods.

You must demonstrate that aircraft are loaded as per the approved system. It's up to the carrier's needs to determine how you ensure that staff loading aircraft are capable of doing it as per the approved loading system.

As part of an audit or surveillance, you need to provide evidence that your staff are:

  • familiar with the loading system
  • have been shown how to load an aircraft
  • proficient performing a particular task.


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