PhD student wins award to study air cargo safety

The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) has awarded a PhD student in the UK US$25,000 to study airworthiness risk assessment for large cargo and passenger aircraft.

Dhanapala Jayakody-Arachchige, working in the Air Transport Department at Cranfield University, is the latest recipient of TIACA’s Walter H Johnson Jr, PhD educational scholarship.

John Snow, senior lecturer at Cranfield, said: “The application of this work to the air cargo industry is most relevant. The hull loss rate of cargo aircraft is several times higher than for passenger aircraft. The most obvious reason is that the cargo fleet is considerably older than its passenger counterpart. The aircraft are very maintenance intensive and are thus more exposed to maintenance error. This makes all the more reason to concentrate on aligning cargo fleets with the new European Aviation Safety Agency-type processes.”

Jayakody-Arachchige, said: “Air cargo operators will benefit from this research in improving their capability to measure the level of risk within their organisations, and to prioritise investments on safety enhancement programs. Visibility of improved risk assessment methods and safety performance would certainly improve public authority confidence and better public relations over environmental safety issues that could further promote the air cargo business.”

Dora Kay, chair of TIACA’s education committee, said: “TIACA’s largest annual scholarship award once again attracted a number of excellent submissions. However, air safety is the most compelling issue for our industry and we will look very closely at the outcome of Dhanapala’s study to help identify further ways to enhance the global reputation of our industry.”

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