Cargo Handling

IATA releases 2024 cargo and ground handling manuals with updated standards

IATA (the International Air Transport Association) has completed the annual revision of its industry manuals for cargo and ground handling operations, incorporating the latest changes and revisions made to many of the underlying industry standards, as well as any state and operator variations.

These reflect the sector’s ongoing commitment to further improving safety, introducing more sustainable operations, as well as enhancing the passenger experience and cargo handling, the association said.

Frederic Leger, IATA’s senior vice president of commercial products and services, said: “Operating to global standards is a must in aviation. Devising these standards together with member airlines and other key value chain stakeholders has been the hallmark of IATA’s activities since its founding.

“A great example of this is the Live Animal Regulations which sees its 50th edition published in 2024. Taking into consideration the various trends – especially sustainability and digitalisation – more than 300 changes are reflected in the 2024 IATA manuals, a testament to the fact that this work is essential to maintain a reliable and safe aviation ecosystem for both customers and employees.”

In total more than 300 changes have been made, including:

Updated guidance on the transport of mobility devices, particularly when powered by lithium and other batteries

The safe transportation of mobility aids requires special care and attention, while the additional challenges posed by the transportation of lithium or other batteries required for some of these mobility aids must also be considered.

Hence, the guidance for the carriage of dangerous goods by passengers or crew has been updated, in order to improve the end-to-end transportation process for mobility aids.

These amendments are reflected in the latest editions of the Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) and Lithium Battery Shipping Regulations (LBSR) and support the industry’s commitment to travellers with disabilities made at the IATA Annual General Meeting in 2019.

Amendments to Live Animal Regulations (LAR)

For over 50 years the IATA LAR has served as an indispensable resource, guaranteeing the safe worldwide transport by air of a wide variety of species.

It provides detailed guidance on how more than 1,000 different species can be safely transported on aircraft and has already been adopted as national legislation in more than 30 countries.

In its latest and 50th edition, the LAR provides more clarity between the requirements for animals which are transported in cargo compartments (IATA Live Animal Acceptance Checklist) and animals which can be taken into the passenger cabin (IATA’s In-Cabin Live Animal Acceptance Checklist). This follows a notable increase in the transportation of domestic animals.

Complete revision of application of Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR) and Temperature Control Regulations (TCR)

As global demand for fresh and perishable goods, such as fruits, vegetables, seafood, and flowers, continues to grow, the industry is investing in advanced temperature-controlled and cold chain logistics to help maintain the integrity of perishable products throughout the transportation journey.

The revised manual includes the new definition of perishables (‘perishables’ are consumable and non-consumable goods with limited shelf life, susceptible to loss and spoilage if not preserved under appropriate conditions, thereby losing their inherent properties or essential quality components and no longer able to be used as originally intended), as well as further information on training and clarification on how temperature ranges can be placed on labels.

IATA Cargo Handling Manual (ICHM) now includes guidance on developing an Operational Risk Assessment (ORA) and possible mitigation strategies

Following an amendment to ICAO Annex 6, an ORA must now be carried out on all items carried in cargo compartments.

The ICHM now includes guidance on developing an ORA, which is a sequential process that begins with the identification of potential hazards.

This includes, among others, the capabilities of the operator and the aircraft, containment characteristics of unit load devices, or packaging details.

In addition, the assessment needs to include the likelihood of an incident, its severity, and appropriate risk management strategies to mitigate the risk as far as practically possible.

Ongoing drive for standardised training and operational procedures in ground handling

Global standards are the foundation for safe and efficient ground operations and standardisation in training will ensure the same high levels of skills and knowledge at a global scale, reduce training time and costs and the global adoption of best practices.

In parallel, the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) is continuing to gain traction across the industry with more than 330 stations accredited at over 200 airports worldwide.

The Revised Airport Handling Manual (AHM) now contains guidelines for management and safety, establishing an industry framework and ISAGO standards for organisation management and control.

ISAGO will require compliance with the AHM and the IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM) for a successful accreditation audit.

In addition to the necessary changes in the manuals, IATA published various trend reports in the fields of dangerous goods, special cargo, cargo operations and ground operations. These provide a more holistic overview of developments and key 2024 industry trends in these fields, which often become the base for some of the operational changes.

Image credit: @Mariakray/Adobe Stock

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