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.


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