Air drops and safety goals added to updated aviation risk standard

Global flight safety standards for contracted aircraft operators have been updated to include air drop threats, controls and defences in a collaboration involving the Flight Safety Foundation, air operators, humanitarian organisations and facilitated by the World Food Programme (WFP). Air drops are occasionally used by humanitarian organisations like WFP to deliver food and other basic supplies to remote areas.

Version seven of the new Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS) Program also includes the addition of safety goals at the top of each control and defence, providing industry with the ability to establish measures to rate the organisation’s safety performance against each goal.

The BARS Program was created by the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) in collaboration with some of the world’s largest resource and mining companies to provide a more efficient means of monitoring, assessing and analysing risks associated with contracted aviation operators. FSF BARS Program managing director David Anderson said the inclusion of air drop risks and controls in the latest version of the Program responded to the continued rise in global humanitarian activity and the unique challenges involved in these operations.

“Air drop activity has its own unique set of risks and controls and is very different to other aviation operations, which is why we’ve dedicated an entire appendix in this latest version of the BARS Program to these activities,” he said.

“The air drop section was developed in collaboration with humanitarian organisations and relevant operators and facilitated by the World Food Program, – the result is a common safety standard for aircraft operators to address the challenges of these complex operations.”

Mr Anderson said the other significant update in the latest version of the BARS Program was the inclusion of safety goals – a result of industry feedback from resources, mining, construction and insurance organisations that contract aircraft and helicopter operators.

“No other standard has ever outlined ‘why’ a control is in place – the addition of safety goals to each control and defence in the standard is a significant step forward for our industry,” he said.

“This provides aircraft operators with the guidance to establish metrics to assess how the organisation is meeting its safety goals, improving visibility and performance.”

Mr Anderson said before the BARS Program existed there were no clear benchmarks for companies to assess the safety of their own, or outsourced, air operations. This created multiple audit levels that were carried out with no information-sharing or comparability between companies.

“Over the past seven years, the BARS Program has done more than 550 audits in 33 different countries for about 170 different aircraft operators,” Mr Anderson said.