The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) wants to send the message that it is “here to help” business aviation. “We need to do a better job of spreading that word to the industry,” IBAC director general Kurt Edwards told AIN.
Terry Yeomans, who directs IBAC’s International Standards-Business Aviation Handling (IS-BAH) program, added, “Too many people think of us as regulators, but really we try to reach out to industry for ways we can help them. If there is a regulation that is impeding their business, we can work with ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization] for relief.”
Founded in 1981, non-profit IBAC is one of 46 non-governmental organizations in the UN’s ICAO and holds permanent observer status. With 192 member states, ICAO’s mission is to coordinate all facets of civil aviation. By far, its largest member organization is the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the international airline representative. Edwards acknowledges that the relationship between IATA and IBAC is not always smooth. “We’re there to make sure that if a new rule or policy comes up in discussion, the interests of business and general aviation are represented.”
Edwards explained that IBAC had “flown under the radar” for too long, and with its IS-BAO (International Standards-Business Aviation Operations) and IS-BAH (for ground handling) programs, it was often viewed as the maker of the rules. Over the past several months, IBAC has committed to reaching out to industry, starting with a series of round tables where industry members are encouraged to voice their concerns over existing or upcoming rulemaking. “The idea is for the round tables to not be IBAC driven,” said Yeomans. “We needed more outreach.”
He explained that nuances in language can sometimes create confusion, and “tiny misunderstood words” can lead to crossed wires.
Speaking of the nature of IS-BAO and IS-BAH audits, Yeomans said, “They’re really snapshots. The auditors need to be intuitive in their evaluations. Everyone is human, and humans seek out shortcuts. The problem is when shortcuts become the norm. If you make it a habit to do things the right way every time, then it’s less likely that shortcuts will work their way into procedures.”
Asked about handling concerns unique to the Middle East region, Yeomans paused then reflected that without much in the way of small aircraft, handling operations are different. “Of course, unlike airports in Europe and North America, there is lots of room for the large aircraft. But complacency can sometimes be an issue, as a result. And if you bend an aircraft around here, it’s a significant bend.”
He said that there has been great buy-in “since day one” to the IS-BAH program in the region since its launch in 2014. He cited the news released at MEBAA of Jet Aviation’s 20 locations attaining IS-BAH Stage 2 status (see yesterday’s edition of MEBAA Convention News, page 30), including several of its facilities in the Middle East, including Dubai. “The support has been terrific,” Yeomans said.
Asked to assess the progress of the IS-BAH program, Yeomans said, “We’re getting there. We are further along than we thought we’d be. We currently have 149 locations at Stage 1, which is really the stage where you say what it is you’re going to do. Stage 2 is an important step because that’s where you have shown that you’re actually doing what you said in Stage 1. We have 50 operations at Stage 2. And we recently awarded our first Stage 3 registration to American Aero Fort Worth at Meacham International Airport in Texas.
At the award ceremony for American Aero during the National Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in October Yeomans said, “American Aero FTW continues to set the pace for the industry when it comes to safety management and risk mitigation. “By doing so, they demonstrate their leadership in creating a performance-based, risk-averse culture that is centered on excellence.”