Research Projects

Integrating Ramp Towers into the Airport SMS

Assigned to Erik Bullard
Last Edited by Erik Bullard

Research and develop guidance around involving ramp towers in a local airport's SMS. Explore options for the airport's role in safety oversight given that ramp towers can involve several organizations operating under separate safety management approaches.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

Ramp towers can enhance the efficiency of aircraft movements on the ramps of large airports, but they are often operated by organizations not fully under the authority of the airport. Ramp towers provide another level of safety supervision on the system, and communication directly with aircraft and air traffic control. By looping ramp tower operators into the airport SMS in practical ways, they may better understand and assist with providing an efficient non-movement area operation. This research will explore how ramp towers might function under an airport SMS to better integrate their safety functions within airport processes. Identifying differences and commonalities in the way different ramp towers operate will shed light on the options airports with such facilities have to enhance airport safety. Further, given that ramp towers are the first and last line of communication with commercial pilots arriving and departing a particular airport, they serve a key role in managing safety, and can be a great source of information when it comes to efficiently managing the ramps. This project could lead to a synthesis of practices, or the development of recommendations for new ways of doing business not only in the movement of aircraft on the airport ramp, but in adding a contributor to managing airport safety risk.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

A report with guidance around involving ramp towers in a local airport's SMS. Explore options for the airport's role in safety oversight given that ramp towers can involve several organizations operating under separate safety management approaches.

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Idea No. 329