Ground operations frequently asked questions
- Do ground staff require training?
Staff who load/unload aircraft and prepare cargo for air transportation are subject to CAO 20.16.1.
- Loading system
Where an aircraft has an approved loading system, the operator and the pilot in command shall ensure that the aircraft is loaded at all times in accordance with that system.
Note 1 Section 100.7 requires all aircraft, except balloons, to have a loading system unless it can be shown that the aircraft cannot possibly be loaded so that its centre of the 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 to protect the aeroplane’s occupants from injury in the event of the aeroplane being subjected to a forward inertial load of up to 9g when the compartment is carrying the maximum weight of goods.
The airline is required to demonstrate that aircraft are loaded as per the approved system and it is up to the carrier's needs to determine how they will ensure that staff load aircraft are capable of doing it as per the approved loading system.
Evidence that demonstrates that staff are familiar with the loading system and that they have been shown how to load the aircraft as per the operator's system is required as part of an audit or surveillance. Also, evidence on how the operator determined staff are proficient in performing a particular task will be expected.
- Which areas of the airline might be included in the audit scope for ground operations?
- 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
- Is it a CASA requirement for AOC holders to audit ground handling agents every year?
It is up to the operator to decide which auditing schedule best suits their operation. Regularly scheduled audits, or risk based audits are acceptable as long as the operator has considered their method in their safety management system and can substantiate the decision making process.