The Accidents We Never Hear About

Aircraft accidents on the ground from park to taxi is very common in the aviation industry but it is often times not highlighted because the media does not deem it “important enough” to air to the world. Ramp rash is the term that refers to these aircraft accidents on the ground that causes some amount of damage to the aircraft. Damage from ramp rash can occur in a variety of ways including ramp vehicles and service equipment that is operating in close proximity to aircraft on the ground. However the most common parts of an aircraft that suffer damage on the ground is the aft baggage compartment (due to the loading and unloading of baggage by ground personnel), engine, wings and forward or rear fuselage.  Not only does ramp rash pose a safety issue but it also costs airlines a lot of money.

How do airlines lose money because of this?

Indirect costs may accumulate over a long period of time and it includes loss of direct revenue because of a loss of passenger fares, accident investigation, the potential need for the replacement of aircraft, and flight cancellations. Airlines also lose more money on flight cancelations or overnight delays because they have to provide accommodation and rewards for the affected passengers.  But what most people fail to recognize is the huge impact it has on the public image of an airline. Airlines lose a lot of money if passengers don’t trust in their services. Essentially, we are the backbone of airlines and without us, the paying customers, there would be no airline industry. As a result airlines try to find ways to improve their image or maintain a favorable image so that they can keep their customers.

My Recommendations

I think it is extremely worthwhile for aviation companies and airlines to invest in ground operations safety.  If aviation companies are worried about the costs of investing in this safety system, they should think about all those indirect costs that would cause them to spend much more money. Not only will they be losing more money but also their public image will be damaged in the event of a major accident. On the other hand, they could advertise the use of this system to justify their safety culture which will improve their image and attract more customers. Just like the popular saying “prevention is better than cure” I believe it would be less expensive and easier to prevent aircraft damage that trying to fix it.

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