IATA launches audit certification for general cargo

Air transport association IATA has launched an initiative to reduce audit complexity and duplication for cargo handling facilities, in the same way that its CEIV progamme has for specialist cargo.

It is estimated 360,000 days per year are wasted on redundant cargo handling audits. A new Smart Facility Operational Capacity Audit Certification (SFOC Audit Certification) program aims to reduce redundant efforts across the industry by 50% through removing the need to validate generic cargo operation procedures.

The second part of the initiative is the Audit Reduction Commitment (ARC) – an industry pledge to reduce audits. Airlines participating in the SFOC programme will undertake a gap analysis to determine which audit standards will not need to be assessed for SFOC certified facilities. The revised audit scope is then defined through the ARC.

Individual airlines will provide clear visibility on the potential audit reduction for SFOC certified facilities, ensuring there is a solid mechanism to eliminate redundant audits. Singapore is the initial focal point for this new analysis with SATS Ltd and Singapore Airlines the first to sign up.

Glyn Hughes, IATA’s global head of cargo, said: “Auditing is critical to ensure the global standards that underpin the safe and efficient operations in the aviation industry. IATA’s strong capabilities in auditing have been proven in the successful IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and CEIV programmes. The SFOC program will bring this expertise to general cargo handling operations.”

Chin Yau Seng, Singapore Airlines senior vice president cargo, says: “The SFOC certification, which we have worked closely with IATA to refine, allows us to sharpen the focus of our own audits of our handling agents. This zooms in on SIA-specific procedures, and enabling even greater emphasis on safety and security.

“The combination of both the SFOC audits and our own audits serves to provide a comprehensive picture of our service partners’ capabilities and operational quality, while improving audit efficiency for us and our service partners.”

Yacoob Piperdi, ceo, SATS Gateway Services, adds: “SATS is delighted to be the world’s first cargo ground handler worldwide to achieve the IATA SFOC Certification. We are delighted to have Singapore Airlines as our partner and the first carrier to commit to ARC. The certification affirms SATS’ consistent standards and the quality of our service.  We hope other airlines will follow this example to realise the SFOC programme’s full audit efficiencies for the entire industry.”

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