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34 CHAPTER SEVEN CONCLUSIONS The combined review, survey results, and interviews provide cial, nongate airport operations. General aviation ramp over- a snapshot of the current ramp area safety issues, operations, sight is geared toward private pilot, charter, and small corpo- and practices in the United States. Generally, the findings rate operations with a strong fixed-base operator role in ramp focus on the following key conclusions: and aviation management, including fueling and catering ser- vices. Additionally, some large hub airports have multiple and Airport ramp areas are complex regardless of airport complex tenant relationships depending on lease agreements size or configuration. and gate and ramp management, including ramp towers oper- No comprehensive U.S. standards exist with regard to ated by airlines and third-party providers. non-movement area ramp markings, ground operations, or safety training. Among the 10 airlines and GSPs participating in the syn- Ramps are inherently dangerous (based on the limited thesis survey, respondents provided consistent replies with accident and incident data that are currently available), regard to safety operations, training, and reporting. All air- but no data repository exists that presents a complete lines and GSPs surveyed focus on comprehensive training analysis of accident types, root causes, and trends to programs that either meet or exceed OSHA safety or 14 CFR demonstrate mitigation successes (such as training). Part 121 training requirements. Nationally and locally, air- Airlines and ground service providers (GSPs) surveyed lines and GSPs reported various methods such as safety typically individualize training programs to meet or briefings, peer reviews, audits, and inspections to promote exceed Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 and Occu- general safety awareness and compliance. Airlines and GSPs pational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) invest significant time and expense to staff training and regulatory requirements and introduce various levels of therefore when staff self-report infractions, the errors, inci- safety programs such as audits and inspections. dents, or accidents are typically resolved through re-training Airports, airlines, and GSPs have various roles and efforts or additional supervision. responsibilities depending on airport contractual and operational agreements. Various FAA, industry, and technology safety initia- RAMP OPERATIONS tives are underway. Industry can point to a number of reasons for the increase in ramp accidents and incidents, such as outsourcing staff; higher SURVEY FINDINGS volumes of flights; increased congestion in the ramp area; larger aircraft; fewer airport operations staff; and cost-cutting Of the airports, airlines, and GSPs surveyed and interviewed, measures with regard to training, equipment, and staff super- all respondents were aware of ramp concerns with regard to vision. Measures to mitigate these changes have included, for safety. This knowledge indicates that ramp safety is not a new some, increased training, safety promotional programs, re- topic; some of the earliest research reviewed was initiated in training as a means to correct hazardous behaviors, nonpuni- the early 1990s. tive reporting, open communication, and safety committees. Based on the synthesis study survey, no distinct safety man- Today there is no clear single ownership and supervision of agement trends or practices emerged with regard to airport the ramp area. Tenants lease gates, passenger loading bridges, size, location, or management oversight. Many of the airports equipment staging areas, etc., in a variety of agreements and have introduced ramp safety programs through both informal configurations. Airports surveyed indicated that both common and structured committees and meetings, ramp inspection and use and leased gates typically make up their airport facility con- collaborative foreign object debris/damage programs, citation figurations. In a few cases, airports manage all their gate areas; and education initiatives, and safety training. Some of the in others, an airport's only oversight is of common use gates. small and non hub airports indicated through survey comments This complexity and diversity can lead to a lack of clear man- that their safety relationship with tenants occurred informally agement of the ramp area. In addition, no U.S. standards or reg- through well-established communication practices and regular ulatory requirements exist for airport ramp markings, signage, onsite presence. General aviation airport representatives found or operations. Each air carrier manages operations to their com- the synthesis survey challenging because of their noncommer- pany guidelines; these guidelines are often used as a foundation