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Aerodrome certification for small and emerging airports: Is it an issue?
Safety in aviation activities has always been one of the overriding considerations of ICAO. Article 44 of the Chicago Convention charges ICAO with ensuring the safe and orderly growth of international civil aviation throughout the world. From a regulatory perspective, ICAO’s role is to provide procedures and guidance for the safe conduct of international aircraft operations and to foster the planning and development of air transport. This is largely achieved by developing standards and recommended practices (SARPs), which are contained in Annexes to the Chicago Convention and reflect the best operational experience of member states. As stated in ICAO Doc 9774 (Manual on Certification of Aerodromes) Chapter 3 Section B, the specifications in ICAO Annex 14, Vol. 1 Aerodrome Design and Operations, unless otherwise indicated in a particular context, apply to all aerodromes open to public use in accordance with the provisions of Article 15 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The responsibility to ensure safety and order at all aerodromes open to public use under their jurisdiction rests with states. Importantly, member states have the prerogative of determining the structure of civil aviation within their borders, including regulation. While the requirement for aerodrome certification may not be applied by a state to all aerodromes under its jurisdiction, aerodromes used for international operations should not be exempted from the requirement. To this end, states need to establish appropriate criteria and then ensure that the criteria are actually implemented. Some states, however, do not refer only to international operations and it is for this reason that all the specific regulatory criteria need to be well understood, particularly where a ‘trigger point’ for certification may be reached. This paper aims to highlight the significance of aerodrome certification, not just in terms of overall compliance, but also being mindful to take practicable approaches to managing risk effectively, particularly at small and emerging airports across the globe. In context, this paper defines ‘small’ and ‘emerging’ airports as those airports with around 1 million passengers per year or those with greater numbers but going through a period of significant exponential growth given their current economic positioning.
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Peter Adams is Senior Practice Executive, Aviation Safety & Risk Management at Aviation Strategies International. He has worked on various international airport management consultancy projects including training development and delivery. He was the past manager for airport safety at Sydney Airport in an expanded role covering airport operations, airfield standards, works planning, operations training, apron/ramp safety, safety management systems, incident investigations, contractor safety, OH&S compliance and airside vehicle control and management. He previously worked in the financial sector and before that he was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. Peter is an International Airport Professional and is an instructor on the ACI-ICAO Airport Management Professional Accreditation Program. He is the lead instructor for the ICAO TRAINAIR Plus course ‘Establishing and maintaining an aerodrome manual for international and national compliance’. Peter is also an active member of the ACI World Safety & Technical Standards Committee.