Airport Operations Human Factors: Auditing and Assessment

Auditing and Assessment of airport operations human factors program

The human factors program will provide numerous benefits to the organization. To obtain the full value of such a program the airport organization needs to measure the effectiveness of the program and evaluate its internal processes. An organization's performance can be measured in a proactive way an audit program. The auditing and assessment process are an essential part of an organization's safety management system1

There are many types of programs for conducting audits with various names. The quality assurance program is developed to audit the compliance of the organization's procedures and processes. A safety audit is conducted to measure the effectiveness of the human factors program implemented by an airport organization. For example, the Line operations safety audit (LOSA) and International operations safety audit (IOSA) of IATA are the programs which are used by most of the flight departments to note the strengths and weakness of the operational performance of the airport and other related aviation operations.

Importance of Auditing and Assessment program

According to FAA (2007)1 the importance of conducting an auditing and assessment of airport operations human factors program are

  • The internal audits are an important part of the safety management system as required by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
  • The auditing program enables the better understanding of best practices and the potential risks of an organization.
  • The outputs of the assessment are important for correcting deviations of the company's workforce from adhering to the regulatory guidelines, policies and procedures.
  • The audit programs motivate the work force personnel to discuss about the events that have occurred in the past due to human error, the contributing factors for the errors and the different Corrective actions to be developed based on the results.

Development of an Audit and Assessment program

  • The appropriate department's auditing process and the safety department's audit process should be used to establish a line observation safety audit program.
  • The everyday processes of the airport like ramp operations, baggage handling and other ground operations are to be assessed to understand the potential risks and corrective actions to reduce the possibility of future errors.
  • A comprehensive tracking program should be established to collect the data, report the data and trend the audit data1

Result of a successful auditing program

On successful implementation of an auditing of human factors program

  • There will be a reduction of costs and audit resource requirements for airlines and regulators.
  • The standards are updated on a continuous basis which results in the evolution of best practices within the industry.
  • With a structured audit and assessment program, the organization shows an improvement in productivity, employee behavior, and greater adherence to policies and procedures1
1. FAA (2007). Operator’s manual: Human factors in airport Operations. Retrieved from ATC Vantage Inc on 27 October 2011.

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ICAO Human Factors
This page offers publications related to flight safety human factors and different operational audits being conducted in the aviation industry.

Contributors to this page

Authors / Editors

Gokul KrishnanGokul Krishnan

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