Red Handling puts safety first

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In the Summer issue of Airside we discussed the subject of ramp safety with a number of industry players; this issue, James Collins – head of airside operations at Red Handling – speaks to the magazine about how Norwegian does its best to equip its GSE with the systems that will ensure safety of all those working with its equipment in busy and congested apron areas

What are some of the technologies used at Norwegian with regards to its GSE and ramp safety?

Most of the GSE we use has either one or a combination of a few of the various safety devices now available on ground support equipment. All items are fitted with safety bumpers, for example. Widebody aircraft passenger steps are also fitted with sensors and proximity warning devices. Electric baggage tractors are fitted with speed limiters and auto stops. Telematics also now has a massive impact.

How are these systems/technology best implemented to increase safety on the ramp?

A combination of all the technologies should be implemented into all GSE that is designed to get close to airframes. In every piece of our GSE is a telematics tracking system that provides details of location, speed travelled and ‘snail trail rewind’ to assist with investigations. Staff awareness of the tracking I believe also acts as a deterrent to cutting corners, knowing that in the event of an incident the tracking system can be rewound to ascertain what exactly occurred.

What particular safety systems have you chosen to go with and why?

As mentioned, we use a combination of safety systems; however, we are working in collaboration with our telematics provider to add additional features all the time. Telematics is a priority safety system, and staff can only access pieces of GSE on which they are trained, using their airside pass. We are working hard with our telematics supplier to implement auto cut-outs if and when a GSE impact sensor is activated, in addition to auto speed limiters for operations at close proximity to aircraft. I am sure going forward we can keep adding measures to telematics whereby we can observe from an office how the additional safety measure implemented are limiting risk around aircraft and people.

What sort of safety systems or technologies do you think we will see in the future on
the ramp?

Additional audible proximity sensor systems with automatic cut-outs. Additional telematic features and other add-ons.

Will automated systems become increasingly frequently used on the apron?

I do not think that we will be able to totally move away from the human interface. However, automated aviation systems have taken a rapid change in direction within the last few years and it is exciting to work with technology to assist and develop the way we operate.

​At Red Handling, we are committed to being a front-runner in thinking outside the box, to ensure our staff and aircraft are protected as best we can, and if there are further automated systems coming to market that could assist this, then I’m sure we would be one of the first to take a look.