Those that have long worked in the aviation industry understand just how unique an airport community can be.
Airport precincts can function like a city or town on their own, with a wide range of businesses operating in many capacities.
People come and go in large numbers, creating a complex environment for the safety personnel charged with ensuring the safe passage of travellers, staff and visitors.
It’s this dynamic, ever-changing environment that is at the centre of this year’s Airport Safety Week theme, our airport, our community.
The week will see more than 150 airports across Australia and New Zealand take part in a range of activities from 14-18 October, including the Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Walk on Wednesday.
Daily themes will highlight key safety issues to encourage airport staff and their communities to share their knowledge and insights over the course of the week.
Tamworth Regional Council manager airport and aviation development Julie Stewart says Airport Safety Week is all about making sure safety remains at the forefront of the minds of staff and visitors alike.
“Our airport stakeholders at Tamworth are keen to ensure we are practicing and operating in a safe environment,” Stewart says.
“Raising safety awareness for our airport community is an important part of our role as the airport operator.”
This year will be a particularly busy Airport Safety Week for Tamworth, which will host an Aerodrome Reporting Officers forum during the week.
A dozen regional airports from across central and north west NSW will take part in the forum and join Tamworth’s FOD Walk after the event.
Stewart says it was a great opportunity to bring together the wider regional airport community to discuss safety issues.
“Regional airports lend themselves to be close and supportive of each other – they’re our ‘work family’ who are watching out and protecting the safety of every member of the airport community,” she says.
“Having representatives from at least 11 other regional airports participating in our ARO Forum during the week builds a strong network of airport operations and safety officers and allows various airport safety practices to be shared and enhanced in our own individual airport environments.”
The business community has also thrown its support behind the week, with Aerosweep taking part once again this year.
Sales Manager Rod Carey said the company, which created the FOD*BOSS runway sweeper, saw the event as an important opportunity to remind airport staff that safety was a shared responsibility.
He said this year’s theme highlighted the importance of being proactive, instead of simply thinking “someone has to do something about this” when identifying a safety issue.
“Being engaged in an airport community is all about being that someone, and finding an answer to the something,” Carey says.
“Many minds as a team will find a way to resolve issues… the community are the eyes and ears for feedback and decisions for the future.
“Airport Safety Week raises awareness levels for both long-term and new staff. It also provides the opportunity to discuss new news in the industry, best practices and sharing of different ideas.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by AIRDAT Project Manager Jennifer Tumbri, with the airport community systems and services company sponsoring the week for the first time in Australia and New Zealand after supporting a similar initiative in the UK and seeing the benefits to the airport community.
“Airport Safety Week gets everyone involved – from ground handler to contractor to administrator,” Tumbri says.
“Airport Safety Week brings awareness to hazards at an airport and how we can all work to reduce the risks.
“It brings not only the local airport community together, but airports around the country and globe –so that we can all share learnings and help make airports safer.”
For Tamworth Regional Airport, those learnings will be shared in many different ways over the course of the week.
Stewart says all staff will have the chance to be involved through activities such as the FOD walk, safety talks, quizzes and competitions and a morning team.
“Being involved and accessing the various airport safety toolbox talks and identified safety initiatives during Airport Safety Week provides opportunities for airport staff to think about safety proposals they can implement in their own work places,” she says.
“It also reinforces the safe practices which may have been forgotten or overlooked.”
Airport Safety Week takes place from 14-18 October 2019. For more information on taking part, click here.
AIRDAT is providing participating airports with the chance to win five ipads, while Aerosweep is offering airports the chance to win a FOD*BOSS runway sweeper. To enter, click here.