Seminars & Conferences

GCAA 7th Risk Management Seminar

IFA was delighted to accept an invitation from Walid Ghanim Al Ghaith, Director Quality and Risk Management Dept. (QRMD), GCAA, UAE to participants in and present the keynote address at the GCAA annual Risk Management Seminar held in Dubai on 11th December. The seminar organised by IFA VP Middle East, Captain Nasir Iqbal focused on Risk Management in Current aviation environment through approaches like safety, quality and business continuity.

IFA CEO, John Vincent gave the address, which can be read here.

The full range of presentations and photos are available via the GCAA website.

Address given by John Vincent, IFA CEO

“We are all here because we are passionate about aviation safety. Aviation is truly an international industry. Passengers can board an aircraft and in a few hours, they can be on the other side of the world.  Wherever they are they expect the same level of safety.  This can only be achieved by people working together in partnership.  So far, 2017 has been a good year – very low numbers in terms of fatalities in commercial aviation operations.  But our continued vigilance is ever needed.  Now, I want to talk about how we do that.  

At an international level, we have a framework provided by ICAO.  In particular, Annex 19 and the Safety Management Manual (SMM).  These documents are designed to help make use of the best practices we know work – they are not set in stone.  The SMM has been updated to reflect experience from its use.  That said, the underlying ideas of safety management are robust and enduring.  The cycle of continuous improvement should not be broken. 

So, where to start? Let me start with some “3s”. My first 3 are: Reactive, Proactive and Prognostic.  In fact, you could say: past, present and future.  As you can see, 3s appeal. 

Firstly, Reactive safety is the one we know the best.  Most of the rules and regulations we ask people to comply with come from lessons learned in the past.  Investigation leads to recommendation and that leads to change.  A change in Design, Procedures and/or Training.  Now, there’s another 3.  But, in this case an occurrence must happen before we take action. 

Next on my list is; Proactivity.  Now there’s where the tools of safety analysis add great value.  By monitoring trends and looking at patterns in data we can get ahead of events.  Known problems can be addressed before they become severe problems.  After all what is Risk?  It’s the combination of likelihood of occurrence and severity of outcome. 

Next, we have Prognostics.  This is when we put together our knowledge and skill and try to predict what is going to happen next in aviation.  Not so easy.   But we have new tools developing to help; Big Data and even Artificial Intelligence can deliver. 

So, with these 3 methods in our safety tool box, what next?  It’s a factor that’s universal.  We do not have unlimited time or resources.  Thus, it’s imperative that we spend both efficiently.  Now, that’s where its best to have a Plan.  And what should a Plan look like?  Again, I’m going to talk in terms of 3s. 

That’s; 1. Systemic Issues, 2. Operational Issues and 3. Emerging Issues. 

Our traditional approach is to focus on the Operational issues.  They are the here and now.  It’s the top-5.  For each region this may vary but I’d say these big 5 are: Loss of control in flight, that’s flight upsets, Runway safety, collisions and excursions,

External action, MH-17 comes to mind, CFIT, yes, it’s still with us and

Airborne Collision, not because there are many but that its catastrophic when it happens. 

Then there’s; Systemic issues.  These are the ones concerned with people and organisations.  With failures and errors.  Processes and procedures.  In particular, with the human factor. 

And then, not so much for this address; Emerging issues.  Some of which are already with us.  Drones – how will we safely share the airspace?  And Cyber security – how do we protect aviation systems? 

So, that’s my brief 10-minute address on the subject of; continuous safety improvement in the current environment.  I’m sure the panel will wish to build on the issues raised.  Thank you.”