Monday, October 19, 2020

SMS Works

 SMS Works

By Catalina9

COVID19 affected air travel and airport operations to a degree never seen before. Major airports went down to 10% of normal movements and the airlines parked thousands of airplanes at these same airports. COVID19 was a disaster for the aviation industry with little or no hope to recover back to 2019 levels for several years. 

An effective Safety Management System (SMS) could not have prevented this disastrous outcome and would not have made one difference for safety in operations. However, what any airport or airline would have in place with an effective SMS, is a recovery tool unlike any other tool. 

A positive attitude is a prerequisite for recovery in aviation.
When a hazard is discovered for the very first time, or a special cause incident occurs for the very first time, three corrective action plan (CAP) options are available. Option one is the extreme to cease operations, or the other extreme to do nothing. The CAP solution when arriving at the fork-in-the-road and holding on to a previously unidentified hazard, is not to develop a CAP to attack the hazard, but it is of vital importance to turn in the direction of least residual risk (leftover hazards) and the least substitute risks (new hazards). When a new hazard is introduced into the SMS system and this is a hazard without prior known CAPs it is impossible to design a CAP that will resolve the risks. The risk has become an inherent risk that needs to be mitigated. 

A couple of examples of a the introduction of a new hazard is the Hudson River landing, where the probability of an all-engine failure was considered a likelihood to be inconceivable and times between intervals to be imaginary, theoretical, virtual, or fictional. Another accident example is MH370 incident where it also was inconceivable that an airliner could just vanish into thin air. When COVID19 hit airports and airlines with an SMS contingency plan for recovery executed their plan and became the leaders of recovery at airport and airlines. A recovery does not imply getting back to 2019 levels, but to recover from a prior unknown hazard. No one could ever imagine that a virus could prevent 3-4 billion passengers to travel. In 2019 the global airline industry reached over 4.54 billion people. Not long-ago IATA published an article that 1.2 billion people had travelled the first nine months of the year, or about 25% of 2019 levels. 

Airlines and airport took it upon themselves at an early stage of the hazard identification to apply the principle of SMS and ensure that customer service became their number one priority. Airlines and airports leaders understood that the public expected them to make changes and that they needed changes that the travelling public would accept as their hazard protection. 

Their first step was to design and implement a Safety Policy. In general, this policy stated that only COVID19-free passengers could board an aircraft for travel. Not only did they distribute their policy to all personnel, but they also expected the policy to be adhered to by the travelling public, airport operators, check-in agents and flight crew. Airports installed sanitizing gates and airlines sanitized each aircraft prior to boarding new passengers. In addition, check-in agents checked all traveller’s health condition prior to boarding. The first SMS step was completed, which was a short-term corrective action to separate data into two categories. 

The second step was to implement a non-punitive reporting policy. Anyone who observed a hazard, i.e. that a person might be affected by the COVID19 virus was encouraged to report it without fear of repercussion, or for fear of being kicked-off the flight. The non-punitive reporting policy became the second level of safety to separate data into the correct category. The beauty of the non-punitive reporting policy is that there is no requirement for the person reporting to have all the facts or to provide a solution, but to report what in their mind is a hazard. It’s for the experts, SMS Manger or Director of Safety in an organization to establish the validity of the claim. 

The third step was to establish definite guidelines and roles and responsibility for all personnel. This includes what actions to take and the reporting hierarchy. The crucial test for the airline industry had become to ensure that the same approach was applied on all seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. Applying the CAP with regional differences was expected to cause an unstable recovery. 

The fourth step was to communicate to the travelling public and to both internal and external organizations. The communication process needed to be simple and accessible, and social media became the main preference for communication source. Airlines and airports conducted surveys to learn how the travelling public felt about departure, or arrival delays. 

I am the Confidential Advisor to the AE.
The fifth step was safety planning for travelers to maintain a confidence level that air travel is protecting them from the hazard. Goals and objectives were established and included spacing passengers seating and design seat separators. Face masks were also required during the flight to contain any large droplets within a personal space. Airlines were already equipped with a comprehensive air filtering system as an additional layer to ensure customer satisfaction. 

comprehensive air filtering system as an additional layer to ensure customer satisfaction. 

Step six was performance measurements. Just as passenger’s heath conditions data were documented upon boarding, data was also collected upon deplaning. This data was entered into a hazard registry, analyzed, and compared to pre-boarding screening. 

Step seven was to review all data for effectiveness. IATA article published that 1.2 billion people had travelled by air the first 9 months of 2020. Out of the 1.2 billion travelers 44 cases were contributed inflight COVID-19 transmission, which is five COVID19 transmission per month. Let’s say that an average airliner seats 150 passengers. For 150 passengers to reach 1.2 billion travelers, they would be required to travel 8,000,000 trips. Out of these 8 million trips, 44 passengers would be infected. One person would have to travel 181,818 trips in 9 months to reach a high probability level to be one of these 44 receiving an in-flight transmission of COVID19. 

It is impossible to see what the future holds. It is impossible to state that without applying CAPs, mitigations, and SMS principles more than 44 cases would have occurred during air travel. However, when comparing to the general population of 7.8 billion people worldwide and 40,369,270 cases; this is about 1 of every 200 being infected by COVID19. If applying the same 1:200 ratio to the air-travelling public, 6,217,616 would have been infected. 

Based on this data form the World Health Organization and the International Air Transport Association, a Safety Management System is the profit generator, the effective business tool, and the superior tool in customer satisfaction. 

Recovery in aviation and recovery at airports is to dedicate your Amazing Airport or Airline to continuous improvements. Train your SMS to increase your revenue one-tenth of one percent daily. This amounts to one half of one percent more productive each week, or two percent each month and 26% increased revenue each year. 


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Qualities Of Your Winning SMS Team

 Qualities Of Your Winning SMS Team

By Catalina9

Building your winning Safety Management Team (SMS) team is more important today than it ever was before. SMS is no longer just another safety program but has become the single most important system for departmental oversight and safety in operations. Organizational processes and operational culture do not change within departments but are laterally equal throughout any department. An organizational culture are the faces of their Board Members, Owners, and CEO which does not change between departments. Putting on a different hat might work when taking on different positions in an enterprise, but the magic hat does not move a business culture between positions. There is only one organizational hat when it comes to the organizational structure, and that hat given to everyone by the CEO. 

An effective Safety Management System is a businesslike approach to safety. A businesslike approach to any enterprises is applied throughout the business and not just to selective areas of operations, one person, or one department. A key component of the SMS is to operate with a Just Culture, which is different than the non-punitive reporting culture. SMS regulations require that both airlines and airports comply with their safety policy, that they operate with processes for goal setting and goal achievement; processes identification of hazards, including defining safety critical areas and safety critical functions in the hazard registry, a process for reporting of incidents and accidents; a process for training and competency; a document design of their SMS; a quality assurance program; processes for SMS audits and reviews; and a process for any additional requirements, which includes all airport or airline operations within the enterprise.  

The SMS team are the Accountable Executive, Flight Operations, Maintenance, or if an airport the Airport General Manager and Airside Supervisor, the SMS Management and Quality Assurance Management. A winning SMS team feel positive about themselves to the degree they feel they are in control of their own destiny. In addition, a winning SMS team expects their decisions to affect processes and impact operations. They also understand that the outcome of their decisions may not always be what they had expected or planned for. An effective and winning SMS team works with a 95% confidence level to leave room for safety improvements. A winning SMS team is a happy team and cannot wait to move on with their next challenge. 

The compliance gap is the gap between the action itself and the end result.

There is a regulatory compliance gap when the regulator is enforcing regulatory compliance at a tempo faster than what an enterprise can comprehend. This does not imply that an enterprise should accept non-compliance with the regulations, but that the regulations are based on a static-state operations and there is a lag, or a compliance gap, between the first movement and the compliance analysis. This compliance gap remains constant throughout any process and if observed, or inspected prior to the data analysis, it will generate a finding. When a third-party is imposing operational changes, such as a consultant, customer or the regulator, their CAP may not be effective if they do not count for the compliance gap. The same concept is also true for the Accountable Executive, who in a business-like environment may make spontaneous decisions. When spontaneous decisions are made in a business environment, they may be fatal to the business itself. The same principle is applicable to a Safety Management System where there are no good reasons to make uninformed, or spontaneous decisions. An effective SMS is a businesslike approach to safety and should be the guidance and template for all other business decisions. The winning team of a Safety Management System is the hub, rather than the umbrella of an enterprise.

If the SMS is the umbrella of all operational systems, it becomes a tool that covers or protects from above. When applied to the SMS system, the umbrella is an overarching system encompassing all other systems within the organization. If a department or person under the umbrella assigned bias responsibilities, authorities, or strength, that authority may skew the SMS in a bias direction or cause an undetectable drift away from expected safety results. 

An enterprise may look at its SMS as an umbrella or a wheel. If the SMS is under an umbrella, the umbrella protects from above and the strength of the SMS is in the person carrying the umbrella, or the Accountable Executive. When the SMS is under an umbrella there is little or no room for changes, except for staying within the protection of the umbrella itself. When looking at the SMS as being under an umbrella, the safe spot in the SMS is where the Accountable Executive is with safest travel to blindly follow their directions. 

A wheel in harmony may endure approaching hazards or obstructions.

If an SMS is built as a wheel, the SMS may travel in any direction where their data points to. A wheel is built up by a hub, spokes, and a protective surface. The hub and spokes of the wheel is the strength of the wheel, or the SMS, while the protective surface, or rubber (wood or steel in the old days) is what carries the load of the SMS. However, the protective surface is dependent on a strong hub with strong spokes to function. 

An enterprise operating under an umbrella becomes a place where departments and personnel will play it safe without venture outside of the protection of the Accountable Executive. Bureaucratic organizations function well under an umbrella and within the safe spot of their leader. Safety may be their priority, but it is not paramount within such an organizational structure. Short term fixes, putting out fires or ensuring that the correct checkboxes are filled becomes their primary tasks. It is irrelevant if this is a large conglomerate of an organization, or a simple small enterprise. In this type of organization, it’s easier to reject suggestions for improvements and remain at status quo even if there is a high probability of a disaster at the next fork in the road.  

An enterprise operating as a wheel becomes a place where departments and personnel must make decisions to steer the wheel out of harms way. The Accountable Executive, as the hub, has ensured that the spokes are trained and are knowledgeable within their area of expertise to maintain a strength for the wheel to carry. When looking at the SMS as a wheel, the Accountable Executive is a part of the total solution.  Safety may also be their priority but is also paramount to the strength of their organizational structure. Short term fixes, putting out fires or ensuring that the correct checkboxes are filled in are still required tasks, but their primary task is to steer the wheel in the safest direction while arriving at the fork in the road. The direction this SMS takes is the calculated safest direction, with a 95% confidence level that the best option was selected. While an umbrella-organization feel their highest performance level is best at status quo, a wheel-organization preforms best while maintaining alertness for changes and makes ongoing decisions to ensure the safest path of travel. In this type of organization there is forward-looking accountability within a coherent system. 

Members of a winning SMS team has learned to set aside emotions and personal differences. They are looking at every hazard as a challenge to conquer and overcome. Members of a winning SMS team embraces changes and see a new opportunity in every difficulty. However, a superior behavior of a person within a Winning SMS Team is their individual ability to accept conclusions and move forward towards the next fork in the road. 


Monday, September 21, 2020



By Catalina9

Travel and exotic destination were affected deeply by the COVID19 virus. Airplanes were parked, airports became ghost towns, and everyone stood up and walked off. Life became a life on the Someday Island. Life in the fast lane became a life of stagnation and procrastination. Airport and airline executives were scrambling to keep operations to a bare minimum. Time went on without any progress being made. Everyone was procrastinating and waiting for the recovery in aviation to lift off like a rocket. But nothing ever happened…

Procrastination is to leave a blank page for someone else to write your story
The aviation industry is experiencing exciting times these days. This is an exiting time since the next page of aviation history is a blank page to be published. Not only are we given a blank page, but we are also given a pencil to fill out the page with whatever we want! This is an opportunity like nothing before, where we can build anything out of the aviation industry. If I remember correctly, the last time it happened was in 1903. We have been given a golden opportunity to get it right this time. Yes, it is true that prior to COVID19 air travel was statistically the safest mode of transportation, wile it is also true that the result of one single accident in air travel caused more harm to the travelling public and their loved ones than any other mode of transportation. These records speak for themselves by all regulatory restrictions that over the years were imposed on airlines and airports. 

Since the first flight of 1903 air travel implemented excellent safety measures after each major accident. The 1956 Grand Canyon mid-air collision laid the base for modernizing ATC, controlled airspace, and radar. At the time of the crash both aircraft were compliant with the regulation. In 2012 two general aviation aircraft crashed mid-air in the middle of nowhere. Both captains complied with the regulations at the time of the crash. The Tenerife Island March 27, 1977 is still the worst aviation accident in the history of aviation. There are many speculations and two independent reports concluded differently. However, one fact remains, that one crew did everything they could to maintain compliance with the regulatory required flight duty time. After each major accident several great safety measures had been implemented, which generally were technical, mechanical and automation improvements or new regulations. The aviation industry eventually caught on that imposing regulations and improved mechanical and automation advancements were not the only tools to prevent accidents. The next step in the system was to improve the Human Factors System.  This goal became true with ICAO’s mandate of a Safety Management System and with regulatory implementation by each ICAO state. The SMS regulation was different than previous regulations in that it is performance based as opposed to prescriptive. While the prescriptive regulation required 100% compliance 100% of the time. With a 100% / 100% requirement there is no room for safety improvements since the regulation itself ensured 100% safety. The new SMS regulations were based on a 95% confidence level of compliance, which leaves room for improvement. This was unheard of and rejected by many in the aviation industry. 

Procrastination is a learned skill and behavior to take on trivial tasks without directions. Procrastinators are permanent residents of the Someday Island and only get off the island when their leaders demand that they do. Procrastination is by many identified lazy, or bad behavior, while in the real world, procrastinators might contribute more than the go-getters. Procrastinators are followers, they need guidance and support for their opinions. They leave the door wide open for anyone who moved away from the Someday Island to generate a wealth of success. Without the procrastinators, there would be little or no room for a successful business. Procrastinate, or procrastinare, or utsette, means to wait until tomorrow to start on a task. However, tomorrow does not exist and never comes to your rescue. My goal is to help procrastinators to achieve their wishes and dreams in the comfort of their place on the Someday Island. 

After the COVID19 hit, successful business leaders became procrastinators, or possible they were already procrastinators being directed by their leaders. Airlines and airports managers sudden stopped in their tracks. They had arrived at the Fork-In-The-Road and without directions as they had not done their homework and the Fork-In-The-Road Test. 

The COVID19 fork-in-the-road was a surprise with nowhere else to go.
The Fork-In-The-Road test is a tool to identify if current steps in the evaluation process are taking shortcuts and jumping to a conclusion that the new strategy is the correct strategy and it’s a tool for a contingency plan when The-Fork-In-The-Road comes unexpected. A shortcut is an attempt to break the wall in a maze to make it to the end without following the planned path. The Fork-In-The-Road Test is to backtrack the process to find out where in the maze the wall failed and then think in 3D, which is measured in time, space, and compass. When thinking in 3D a future scenario can be designed. This does not imply that the future can be predicted, but it implies that data, information, knowledge, and comprehension are vital steps to predict hazards that affect operational processes.

Procrastination is defined in Pareto’s 80/20 principle. Applying this principle, it is reasonable to expect that 20% of human behavior is the cause of 80% of the result. 20% of pilots may cause 80% of the incidents, 20% of airport operators may cause 80% of unsafe airport operations or 20% of the CEOs may cause 80% of business failures. This is a principle or theory and a tool to initiate actions to draw the first card for recovery in aviation. There is no doubt that COVID19 forever changed the landscape.  

The Safety Management System is a tool for recovery. The ICAO SMS system itself is so brilliantly designed that it blows any other pre-SMS safety systems currently in place. Based on the Pareto principle it is reasonable to expect that 20% of airport and airline operators have embraced SMS and moved away from the Someday Island. 

The next step for recovery at airports and recovery in aviation is to accept that changes has occurred and that they need to move forward in a digital customer appreciation environment. The NextGen of customer appreciation is for airports and airline operators to take on a role in Project Solutions Leadership Motivation. The roles of the Accountable Executive have changed from business management to apply a businesslike approach to the Safety Management System. Both airports and airlines would have experienced a reduction in economic losses if they pre-COVID19 had implemented a businesslike approach to SMS. But rather than focusing on SMS they were running the old-way safety which is extremely expensive. A pre-COVID19 transition to a businesslike approach to SMS would have reduced the impact since SMS operational cost is less than the cost of safety. 

If you don't design Your Amazing Airport or Airline plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.


Friday, September 18, 2020

How Using an SMS and QA Integrator Saves Money!

How Using an SMS/QA Integrator Saves $Money$

Most small companies have accountants, lawyers and human resource people. Usually these small companies can not afford to have these required functions on a full time basis. Their accountant works from an accounting firm and monitors the books and gives advise. The lawyers usually work for a law firm outside the company and are called upon when needed to assist in legal business situations. A lot of companies contract out their Human Resource functions to payroll and other personnel management companies. Let's face it, it is a lot cheaper to hire a payroll or accounting company then to pay a full time accountant with benefits and all the costs that go along with a full time employee sitting at a desk. We have to have these departments because regulations and laws require it. As long as the functions meet all the legal and regulatory requirements, why not "Think outside the box" for ways to streamline and thus reduce the costs of the required functions while still getting the desired results. 

"Why can't we do the same with Safety Management Systems, SMS and Quality Assurance, QA?"

SMS Flow is a complex Process

Safety Management Systems and Quality Assurance are daily and continuous processes. So the questions is;  do we need to have a person sitting in the company to make the SMS and QA work?  We have learned valuable lessons from the great Quality Assurance gurus like Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Dr. Joseph Juran. It is the "Processes" themselves that create, control and produce the desired results for successful outcomes. It is not a single person who is responsible for the Safety or Quality functions that a company strives for, but rather it is the collection of  stakeholders working together within a "system" that produce the desired outcomes. 

So here's the Paradigm!  "We must have a person that is sitting in the company somewhere that is responsible for the SMS and QA function!"

Not so! All the activities of a successful Safety Management System and Quality Assurance System can be easily "Facilitated" remotely. Let me explain "facilitated." 

Everyday Safety reports are generated. The actual reporter and/or designated administrative person enters the report into a "Database" (such as SMS Pro, Vortex...etc.) The SMS Integrator, (who for all intents and purpose acts as the SMS Manager), now takes those reports and facilitates Risk Assessment, Root Cause Analysis and the development of Corrective Action Plans. The SMS Integrator manages the reports in the company's system by convening Safety groups through email, distance conferencing, (i.e. Zoom, MS Teams...etc.) and other Robust communication methods. The SMS Integrator monitors the "Corrective Action Plans" and reports on a continuous bases and reports to the company's management on "Corrective Actions" and "Continuous Improvement" initiatives. 

Daily Monitoring of The SMS remotely

"The key to a successful SMS Integration is based on several important decisions that must be made by the company."

1st. Are the company employees committed to the SMS and QA programs and willing to participate in Safety committees and Quality Circle Groups. 

2nd. Is the upper management of the company committed to supporting the SMS and QA system. 

3rd. You must contract an SMS Integrator that has the knowledge, skills and ability to manage a successful SMS and QA Program. The Integrator company must have "Profound" knowledge of SMS and QA Regulations and be able to conduct effective training to company personnel. The SMS Integrator must have knowledge of the operation, procedures and responsibilities of the company's local regulator personnel. The SMS Integrator must have communication skills to interface management initiative with the SMS and QA program. When management seeks change, the SMS Integrator must be able to conduct "Management of Change" processes to facilitate any changes with company personnel and processes. They need to produce "Safety Cases" and brief the company's management and personnel on the risks induced by the proposed changes and come up with mitigating measures. 

The Integrator is THE SMS Manager

The SMS Integrator can also monitor and maintain the company's Hazard Register to help management come up with Goals and Objectives from the Safety Risk Profile that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. The SMS Integrator also monitors the Hazard Register for Trending and reports appropriate data to management and then facilitates the corrective actions needed. 

The SMS Integrator would be responsible for the company's robust Audit program. The SMS Integrator would conduct SMS and QA Audit training to certify company personnel to perform Audits. In addition, all SMS and QA training would be conducted by the Integrator thus saving money in hiring "outside" training organizations. 


Since the company does not have to have a full time SMS and/or QA manager, a company can save on salary and benefits associated with these positions. In most cases anywhere from 50 to 150 thousand dollars. Because the SMS Integrator has daily communication and contact with the company, the company would have to designate an "Administrative" person to be the hands and feet of the Integrator at the physical building as needed. An Integrator liaison would be only a portion of the administrative person's responsibilities and therefore the cost factor is significantly lower as compared to hiring a full time SMS or QA Manager. In most cases, the cost of contracting with an SMS Integrator is about 10-20% of the cost of hiring managers for these positions. 

The SMS Integrator will also be responsible to the company's regulators when it comes to regulatory Assessment, Process Validations and Process Inspections. Since the SMS Integrator is responsible, any Corrective Actions required by the regulator is the responsibility of the SMS Integrator to facilitate in the company. The company would not have to hire a consultant to help develop CAPs and other Actions. This is tremendous saving of thousands of dollars. 

You do NOT have to purchase new or expensive SMS Software. The SMS Integrator will use your existing SMS Database no matter which one it is.  The company will simple add the SMS Integrator to the user list in order to see reports and data. This is also a significant savings. Even if you do not have or want to stop paying for SMS Software, the SMS Integrator will be able to work a system of reporting and monitoring that would replace SMS Software at very little or in most cases no additional cost. 

The Cost Savings are Significant!!

What about the Regulations?

There is no regulation stating the requirements for the position only the requirement for the SMS System. The fact is that several enterprises are already using an SMS Integrator with the regulator's blessing.  If needed, the actual SMS Integrator will physically come to the company in the circumstance of a regulatory audit if the company so desires. 

The SMS Integrator takes the place of the SMS Manager!


October 20 12pm

By Dennis Taboada, M.eng.,CQE,CQM


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Aviation Recovery

 Aviation Recovery

The 200th Post from Catalina9! 

Aviation recovery is on a path to the fork-in-the road, where one single decision could be the determining factor of recovery success or failure. The downturn in aviation came as a shock to executives and decisionmakers in both airlines and airports. Life in the aviation-line was good and daily operations was extremely successful by their own standards and assessments. By their own success from the past, airports and airline executives was protected from making emotionally difficult operational decisions. When COVID-19 hit, everything they knew about decision-making disappeared. Their inability to react positively to the downturn is the greatest example of how both airlines and airports had swept their Safety Management System (SMS) under the rug. The first day of the pandemic an airport or airline with a successful SMS would have picked up their pre-designed Safety Case or Change Management plan for actions to move forward. Or, at a minimum, they would have initiated a Change Management plan at that time.

An empty airport is a hazard to aviation.

 Both airlines and airport   executives did what they   how to do the best. They   reduced their operational   personnel to a minimum.   This step, among other   steps, were necessary   reactive processes due to   the approaching economic   situation. A successful SMS   would not have prevented   these reactions, but a   successful SMS was at that   moment the tool for           executives to apply and initiate recovery steps. Procrastination is an enemy of success.


A Safety Management System is not the magic wand to eliminate changes or hazards. However, it is the greatest tool for recovery in aviation. This is the time for airports and airlines executives to embrace their losses and move forward with their digital recovery. The path to success in recovery is to take on the KWINK challenge, Knowing What I Now Know. It is known that success was achieve in the past and it’s known that this success failed tremendously. When conducting a risk assessment for moving forward while knowing the outcome of the past, the path that lead to success in the past must be changed. The purpose of a risk assessment is not just to momentarily avoid hazards and reduce risks, but also to design a Project Solution Leadership Motivation plan to action when success fails.


A standard risk assessment does not do the job for the multiple risk assessments that must be done for recovery in aviation. A standard risk assessment defines losses while it eliminates the hazards of success. Several years ago, I developed a risk matrix for both success and failures. A systematically failed risk assessment process is one where times between intervals of failures are methodical, planned, and dependable, without defining the operational system or processes involved. A prerequisite for airports or airlines recovery process is to review risk assessments of the past for failure or success. If the outcome was as expected by the risk assessment it was successful, but if the outcome failed, then the risk assessment process failed. If, for some reason, a risk assessment of hazard or incident reports were not conducted, the risk assessment is assumed to have failed. In Canada, since the SMS was implemented for airlines in 2006 and airports in 2009, there should be a wealth of data to review for recovery.


The aviation industry will look totally different tomorrow that how it was yesterday. Airport terminals designed yesterday was designed to meet the needs of the airport itself and not the travelling public. Airside personnel responsibilities today are regulatory compliance and compliance with SMS policies. Their responsibilities are not linked to aircraft movement or passenger counts, but to the static regulatory environment. Airline personnel, including pilots, mechanics and customer service representative responsibilities are the combination of static regulatory and variable customer service tasks. When accounting for time away from these responsibilities all personnel require retraining before returning to operations. A major change in the aviation industry since yesterday is that yesterday’s operations got away with regulatory requirements only, while operations today must cater to customers expectations. What the aviation industry had missed, both airlines and airports, when the COVID hit, was to have a prepared answer the question raised several times: “Why does the Global Aviation Industry, being Airlines or Airports, need a Safety Management System (SMS) today, when they were safe yesterday without an SMS?”

Different approach equals different outcome.

Operations will never be the same for airlines or airports. When the world stopped, the aviation industry took a downturn. The only way for Your Amazing Airport or Amazing Airline to succeed is to embrace the new digital world. We all like to see the good old days come back, but our wishes are irrelevant to what's happening. We need to service our customer's primary needs. While they love to travel and fly to exotic destinations, their worries are how their trip will be interrupted by other events. Imagine how stressful it is for your friends who are restricted, uncomfortable, and restrained to their seat in an airplane that has not moved for hours because it's parked. The ability to set and achieve a goal through systematic focus and accomplishment is the most powerful way to turn your dreams and visions into reality.


A successful recovery is to embrace public opinion and social media since they are telling you what they expect of Your Amazing Airline or Airport and what you need to know. Social media posts are being pushed aside by experts as being untrue or irrelevant to operations. Over the years I have written about this systematic customer service failure. Our goal is to provide exceptional and unconditional service to customers from a point of view of the travelling public. The recovery is to listen to our customers, and they are there on social media. Digital Recovery is the key factor to Celebrate Your Success.




Friday, August 21, 2020

Take On The AZR Challenge

Take On The AZR Challenge 

By Catalina9

Airport Operators in Canada are avoiding the AZR challenge and taking on a gambling position to protect their capital investment. An aerodrome without an AZR is to sign a blank check to the local landuse authority. Your Amazing Airport is taking the path of least resistance but also the path of greatest failure. Airport Zoning Regulations (AZR) is a unique program for Canadian airports to protect their capital investment. An aerodrome in Canada is any area of land, water, ice or other supporting surface used, designed, prepared, equipped or set apart for use for the arrival, departure, movement or servicing of aircraft and includes any buildings, installations and equipment. In short, all of Canada is an aerodrome. An airport is an aerodrome with a certificate of certification. Certification of an aerodrome is required for operations of scheduled air service, if the aerodrome is within a built-up area, or if it is in the public interest that the aerodrome is certified.

NOTE: It is always in the public interest that an aerodrome is certified.  

Once upon a time there was an airport…
For an aerodrome to be certified it must pass a test. Just as a pilot must pass a test for a pilot license, an aircraft mechanic must pass a test to conduct aircraft maintenance and most of us passed a test for a driver license. The test an aerodrome must pass is the TP312 5th Edition test. It’s a comprehensive test. The TP312 test is not given to a person or an entity, but to the parcel of land itself. There are conditions for when an aerodrome is obligated be certified, but there are no conditions under which an aerodrome may be excused from certification. The regulator may oppose certification of your airfield if it is a private member field, is located in a rural area, or there is lack of business at your field. This year, it is 11 years ago since an aerodrome submitted to the Regulator an application for certification. The airfield passed the TP312 test, but the Regulator refused to issue a certificate due to lack of business at the aerodrome. An aerodrome without a certificate and the AZR could in the blink of an eye be reduced to a drone-field by construction of aeronautical obstructions in the vicinity of Your Amazing Airport.

There are no conditions under which an aerodrome is excused from being certified. However, there are conditions under which certain behaviors are unsuitable for a person to be the Certificate Holder or Airport Operator. The tasks a person, as a certificate holder or airport operator is required to perform to maintain their position are to design and maintain the Airport Operation Manual, maintain the Standards of TP312 5th Edition and maintain the Safety Management System.


A Regulator requires Operational Control of an Aviation Document, or Certificate. Pilots maintains operational control of their certificate by training and medical certificates, an airline maintains operational control of their flight crew qualifications and aircraft maintenance. Just as an aircraft certificate is dependent of the aircraft operator, an airport certificate is heavily dependent on the operator. The difference is that an aircraft is moving all the times, while an airport is stationary. The Regulator expects operational control of all aviation documents, not just for pilots and airline operators, but also of airport operators. Operational control of an airport certificate is very different, since the certificate is issued to a static parcel of land. Operational control of an Airport Certificate is achieved by the Airport Zoning Regulations.


Some years ago, a finding was issued to an airport operator because a tower was built about 3 SM away from the airport. The tower penetrated the airports’ OLS and therefore became a hazard to aviation safety. Pursuant to the SMS regulations, an airport operator has based its safety management system on the safety policy and that there is a clear commitment to safety. Without an AZR in place, there is no clear commitment to safety since the airport operator does not have a tool to remove aeronautical obstructions that are hazardous to aviation. Should a structure be erected and penetrate an approach surface, the only option available to the airport is to shorten the runway. Making a runway shorter must be approved in the Airport Operations Manual and it is known that an approval may take 3-6 months. Without an AZR, an airport operator is operating outside the parameters of public interest and safety in aviation. An AZR is established to prevent lands adjacent to or in the vicinity of an airport from being used or developed in a manner that is incompatible with the safe operation of an airport or aircraft.

Without AZR the only way out is to move backwards for safety

Without an AZR in place an airport operator finds themselves between a rock and a hard place for compliance with the Safety Management Regulations. The regulations requires that there is a process for identifying hazards to aviation safety and for evaluating and managing the associated risks, that there is a process for ensuring that personnel are trained and competent to perform their duties and that there is a process for the internal reporting and analyzing of hazards, incidents and accidents and for taking corrective actions to prevent their recurrence.


"Let’s take a closer look at these three regulatory requirements as it relates to the TP312 5th Airport Certificate and required tasks by the Airport Operator."


The first requirement is that there is a process for identifying hazards to aviation safety and for evaluating and managing the associated risks. Intent is not a hazard to aviation safety. That someone intend to build a tower on short final at Your Amazing Airport is not a hazard to aviation safety itself, since there is no structure intruding on the approach surface. Under these conditions, and without an AZR, an airport operator or the Regulator has no rights to demand that a private citizen do not erect the structure. Since the structure is not erected, an airport operator does not have in place a process to identify hazards to aviation or to evaluate and manage the risks. A plan or proposal is not a hazard to aviation safety and does not become a hazard until the moment the structure penetrate an approach surface established pursuant to TP312 5th. The only option the operator has is to displace the threshold and shorten the runway. The Regulator has only one option, which is to issue a finding to the airport operator for not maintaining the Standards of TP312. A well-known public airport event is the Chatham silo.


The second requirement is that there is that there is a process for ensuring that personnel are trained and competent to perform their duties. Unless there is an AZR in place, airport personnel are without an option to be trained in obstacle management beyond the airport property and without the ability to affect the outcome of the plan.


The third requirement is that there is a process for the internal reporting and analyzing of hazards, incidents and accidents and for taking corrective actions to prevent their recurrence. Imagine for a minute a hazard report stating the following: “The Town is planning to build a 500-foot wind turbine 1 SM away from Your Amazing Airport inline with the approach path. When built, the wind turbine will penetrate the approach surface.”  

The one question Your Amazing Airport needs to ask and come up with an answer, is what to do about the hazard. In the case of this report, the airport operator does not have one single tool to stop or prevent the construction of the wind turbine. The only option is to close the runway. 


Operational control at an airport is not to manage pilots or aircraft, but to mange the integrity of the certificate and TP312 5th Standards. The only tool is the Airport Zoning Regulations.





Monday, August 10, 2020

You Are The President of Your Amazing SMS

 You Are The President of Your Amazing SMS

By Catalina9 

The Safety Management System (SMS) of today has still several hurtles to overcome and become the irrefutable aviation safety system of tomorrow. SMS is so different from any other quality assurance systems in that the system takes into account human factors, human performance and job performance as it relates to safety critical areas and safety critical functions. Airports and airlines will always have the option to chose between mediocrity or excellence in SMS. An SMS that chose excellence are operating with successful people in all their positions.

SMS Tomorrow is balanced with directions.

SMS Tomorrow is preparing for excellence tomorrow. People in SMS positions comprehend the fact that SMS is a system of incremental improvements and how their excellence today is a catalyzer for excellence tomorrow. Successful people are the successful SMS Tomorrow. A successful SMS are people who see themselves capable of being the best and see themselves with the capacity of being really good at what they do. People of an excellent SMS see themselves as a contribution for an airport or airline that deserve the best.


People of an excellent SMS are courageous. Successful people in an excellent SMS Tomorrow work to confront the fears that hold most people back. The two biggest enemies to success are fear and doubt. The single purpose of the Non-Punitive Reporting Policy at Your Amazing Airport or Airline is to overcome the fear of failure and doubting your own opinions and skills. By doing something repeatedly a habit is developed and by making a habit of submitting SMS reports you fear doing, your fear of failure will certainly be eliminated. The ability to confront your fear is the mark of superior skills. When you have high ambition and you decide to be at the top, confront your fears and do the things that are holding you back, those two things alone will make you a great contribution to SMS Tomorrow. It is the people at all levels of the SMS who builds an SMS of excellence.

You are the President of Your Amazing Destination Corporation.
 The people of SMS Excellence are completely committed to their cause. They believe in themselves; they believe in their SMS and they believe in their customers. When a successful person absolutely believes in their definite purpose, every action becomes a catalyst for SMS Tomorrow. Every person of a successful SMS creates incremental steps of safety enthusiasm.

A successful SMS is the result of people who review every detail in advance, who makes decisions based on result rather than fear of failure and they strive to be exceptional and outstanding in what they do. Before they go into an SMS meeting or Management Review they are prepared. Before they give an SMS speech, they validate data, research information, express their knowledge transfers comprehension to their audience. A successful SMS is proud of its results.


Every person of an SMS Tomorrow and an SMS of Excellence is a leader. Any person is the leader of their own destination in a hierarchy of leaders. Within an SMS of Excellence every person is in essence self-employed and the President of My Amazing Corporation. In an SMS, we are the Safety Management System. The SMS is not the Accountable Executive, Quality Assurance Director or SMS Director, but the SMS is You. You are the one constant within SMS Tomorrow that can make a difference. The most liberating and exhilarating thought of all, to think, to realize, is that you are the President of Your Amazing SMS.




SMS Works

  SMS Works By Catalina9 COVID19 affected air travel and airport operations to a degree never seen before. Major airports went down to 10% ...