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For Airlines

Ground damage costs the industry billions of dollars per

year and was the third most common type of accident after
gear-up landings or gear collapse, representing 13% of
accidents during the period of 2008-2012. IATA continues
to develop the Ground Damage Database (GDDB) to collect
and analyse reports of ground damage from participating
operators and ground service providers, IATA has also
put a big emphasis on the implementation of integrated
solutions for ground operations to cover:

The standardization of the ground

operations procedures via development
and continuous update of
IATA Ground Operational Manual (IGOM)

Safer ground operations and elimination

of redundant audits from airlines
IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations

IGOM was developed in response to industry

demands for enhanced safety as well as damage
reduction in ground operations. IGOM covers the
complex series of processes required to separate
an aircraft from its load (passengers, baggage,
cargo and mail) on arrival and combine it with its
load prior to departure. IGOM is the core HOW to
do manual for all ground operations and provides
standard procedures, instructions, score cards for
the frontline personnel.

ISAGO is the industrys first global standard for the

oversight and auditing of ground service providers
(GSPs). It aims to improve safety and cut airline
costs using internationally recognized standards
and quality auditing principles with the objective of
drastically reducing ground accidents and injuries,
while driving down the number of duplicate or
redundant audits. IGOM provides the how to do
ground operations in an industry accepted manner,
while the GDDB provides performance monitoring
for both IGOM and ISAGO.

Establishment of IATA Global Aviation Data

Management (GADM)

With the growth of air traffic, airport operations

have become increasingly complex. More and larger
aircraft, an increase in ground support equipment
and faster turnaround times all contribute to the
challenge of improving operational safety.

Global Aviation Data Management (GADM)

This is a data management system supporting
the collection and integration of data from various
sources (IOSA, STEADS, FDX, ISAGO etc.) to
perform comprehensive safety analysis to identify
risks and measure performance. Information gained
will be used by the aviation industry to manage and
mitigate risks.

In response to this complex ground operations

environment, IATA has brought together airlines,
ground service providers, regulators, airports, cargo
handlers and other industry stakeholders to address
ground accidents/incidents and the increasing
costs of audits.
Modelled on the accepted IATA Operational Safety
Audit (IOSA) framework, the IATA Safety Audit for
Ground Operations (ISAGO) is conducted on a twoyear cycle at both headquarters and station levels
of a ground handling company. Typically, audits that
take place at headquarters (HQ) are conducted by
IATA-accredited Audit Organizations and take two
days to complete. Station (ST) audits are conducted
by Airline auditors and their duration is dependant
on the scope of the audit.

ISAGO Pool membership

is open to all IATA and non-IATA airlines
that are IOSA registered.
The ISAGO program is for ground service providers (GSP) worldwide, regardless of size or status. The scope of
the audit is tailored to the range of activities conducted by the ground service provider to be audited at a particular
airport. ISAGO is equally applicable to independent ground handlers as well as airline-owned subsidiaries or
airline embedded GSPs.

How does it work?

Audit alocation

A number of IATA Member Airlines have formed a

pool to commit auditors to carry out ISAGO audits
with the intention that Pool Members share audit
reports, thereby saving themselves the cost and
effort of conducting their own audits at all of their

Audit allocation is done once in a year. Pool members

are required to submit their current network and list
of GSPs they use at their station portfolio. The audit
allocation exercise is completed by IATA during the
month of October. IATA takes into consideration
all audits that are due for renewal and all initial
requests for ISAGO audits coming from new GSPs.
An important element that must be considered is
the size of the airlines network and the weighting of
each individual audit as they are weighted according
to the scope, regardless of whether it is a renewal or
an initial audit. First to be assigned are audits/GSPs
that are shared amongst the pool members and which
bring most benefit to the pool. The annual audit plan is
issued in November and shared with all members. The
audit plan will be proportional to and must reflect the
airline network size and location(s) where the member

The ISAGO Audit Pool is currently composed of IATA

member airlines that are committed to performing
ISAGO audits according to internationally recognized
safety standards. The Audit Pool has worldwide
representation, which aims to improve ground safety
and avoid redundant audits by sharing audit reports
among pool member airlines.
ISAGO Pool membership is open to all IATA and
non-IATA airlines that are IOSA registered.
Membership is free of charge.
A list of current Pool members is available at:
IATA manages the Audit Pool and assigns ISAGO
audits in the most efficient and practical manner.
Pool members perform the audits of GSPs that
provide services to them or at locations where the
airline operates.
All audits are to be conducted in English.

How to become an ISAGO Audit Pool

1) Send a formal request to
2) Sign the ISAGO Multilateral agreement
3) Nominate your auditors for training

What are the benets

of joining the pool?
Reduction in number of redundant audits
More efficient processes and improved
quality standards
Better understanding of high-risk areas
within ground operations
Lower risk of ground damage
Reduction of incidents and accidents
Fewer injuries to personnel
A standardized ISAGO checklist is used
that is developed and updated by IATA in
cooperation with the industry Task Force
A quality control check is performed on
every report prior sharing it with Pool
Quality assurance oversight is performed
by IATA to ensure a consistent approach
to auditing

6) Accept your annual audit allocation/plan

Another use of ISAGO within the airline operations

shall be usage of the ISAGO checklist even for own
oversight to ensure consistent approach to station
assessment. More over ISAGO shall play an important
role during the procurement department negations
when airline is renewing the SGHA or seeking for new
GSPs at current and/or new destinations.
For more information please see the ISAGO
Benefits for Airlines brochure.
ISAGO audit
What is the ISAGO audit scope?
The ISAGO standards are composed of the following
Section 1: Organization and Management (ORM)

4) Train the auditors via IATA

5) Submit you station network including the list of
GSPs you contract

To ensure that pool member reap full benefit from

participation in the ISAGO pool, the airline must
include ISAGO audits as part of their own oversight.
The number of oversight audits performed shall
be reduced due to existence of the ISAGO audit
report and due to the fact that the audit workload
is shared amongst the pool members. ISAGO shall
be part of the Safety Management System that the
airlines are implementing and improving nowadays
and shall be taken in consideration when assessing
the operational risks.

- Sub-section ORM-H: for headquarters audit

Reduction of oversight audits
There are currently 40 Pool members that actively
perform ISAGO audits. Their GSP network varies
from 40 to 300 destinations worldwide. An average
of 30% of GSPs that provide services to our pool
members are ISAGO registered and Pool members
can enjoy benefits such as Audit Report Sharing.
Some of the pool members are reaching an overall
reduction in audits of 52%, while some have
achieved only 10%.

- Sub-section ORM-HS: for co-located

headquarters and station audit
- Sub-section ORM-S: for station audit
Section 2: Load Control (LOD)
Section 3: Passenger Handling (PAX)
Section 4: Baggage Handling (BAG)
Section 5: Aircraft Handling and Loading (HDL)
Section 6: Aircraft Ground Movement (AGM)
Section 7: Cargo and Mail Handling (CGM)

ISAGO audit program management

is ISO-CEN 9001:2008 certied!
ISAGO assesses the organization and management at both headquarters and station levels. The station
audits are the backbone of the program, being the focus of the many audits conducted today by airlines.
Headquarters audits are focused on operational management and control. They are conducted by existing
IOSA accredited Audit Organizations.

Join us today and get The Integrated

Solution for Ground Operations.

The cost of the station audit is covered by pool member airline.


Audit software

Recommended Practices

For a GSP such as Swissport to be ISAGO registered

at one station it must also undergo a corporate audit
at the headquarters location. Such a type of audit
is done by an Audit Organization and is completed
against the standards described in ORM-H. Should
Swissport wish to be registered in AMS where they
offer full ground handling services except cargo,
they would also be audited on the station level by
Pool member airlines using ORM-S, LOD, PAX,

ISAGO audit are done in audit software called

Q5AIMS. Auditors are required to perform
assessment of all GOSARPs (ISAGO Standards
and Recommended Practises) that are in scope/
applicable to the type of the operations undertaken
by the audited GSP.

ISAGO Recommended Practices are specified

systems, policies, programs, processes, procedures,
plans, sets of measures, facilities, components,
types of equipment or any other aspects of ground
operations under the audit scope of ISAGO that are
considered operationally desirable, but conformity
is optional by a provider. Recommended Practices
always contain the italicized word should (e.g., The
Provider should have a policy) to denote optional

Should Swissport wish to be audited at another

station where they operate only in cargo warehouse,
the station audit will be again done by Pool member
airline this time using only ORM-S and CGM
auditing sections.
Should IATA receive an audit request from GSP that
operates only at one location, HQ and ST are colocated, meaning the GSP does not need to undergo
a separate HQ audit. The audit will be allocated to
a Pool member airline, this entity will be using the
ORM-HS auditing section and the rest of applicable
operational auditing disciplines based on the ground
operational profile at the station.
Combined/co-located audits are also applicable to a
GSP that operates at multiple locations but within one
country. The station location that is co-located with
the HQ must be audited first by Pool member airline
using the ORM-HS auditing section and the rest of
applicable operational auditing disciplines based on
the ground operational profile at the station.

ISAGO Standards and Recommended

Practices (GOSARPs)
The Standards and Recommended Practices have
been developed solely as the basis for the audit under
the ISAGO program. GOSARPs are not regulations.
ISAGO Standards are specified systems, policies,
programs, processes, procedures, plans, sets of
measures, facilities, components, types of equipment
or any other aspects of ground operations under the
scope of ISAGO that are considered an operational
necessity, and with which a provider will be expected
to be in conformity at the conclusion of the Audit.
Standards always contain the word shall (e.g., The
Provider shall have a process) in order to denote a
During an Audit, determination of nonconformity with
specifications contained in an ISAGO Standard results
in a Finding, which in turn results in the generation of a
Corrective Action Report (CAR) by the Audit Team that
conducted the Audit. To close a Finding, a provider will
be required to implement corrective action that will be
verified by the audit team. All corrective actions shall
be verified by the audit team within six months of the
on-site closing meeting.

During an audit, a determination of nonconformity

with specifications contained in an ISAGO

Recommended Practice results in an Observation,

which in turn results in the generation of a CAR by
the audit team. A Provider is not obliged to respond
to an observation with corrective action. However,
if a provider chooses to close an Observation, it
will require the implementation of corrective action
exactly as is required to close a Finding.
To determine conformity with any standard or
recommended practice, the ISAGO Auditor will
assess the degree to which specifications are
documented and implemented by the provider. In
making such an assessment, the following guidance
is applicable.

Program Governance
Documented shall mean any specification(s)
in GOSARPs is (are) published and accurately
represented in a controlled document. A controlled
document is subject to processes that provide for
positive control of content, revision, publication,
distribution, availability and retention.
Implemented shall mean any specification(s) in
GOSARPs is (are) established, activated, integrated,
incorporated, deployed, installed, maintained and/or
made available, as part of the operational system,
and is (are) monitored and evaluated, as necessary,
for continued effectiveness
ISAGO Registry
The Registry is a web-based listing of ground
service providers who have undergone an ISAGO
audit and have addressed and closed all findings
within 6 months of the on-site audit meeting.
ISAGO registration is granted after the successful

completion of an audit at a GSPs headquarters

and at least one station. Registration is applied
progressively after that to each additional station as
it demonstrates conformity with applicable ISAGO
Standards. In addition to the registration, the GSP
will receive an ISAGO certificate.
ISAGO audits are conducted on a two-year cycle.
Therefore the validity of any audit conducted is two
years, the same rules apply for validity for ISAGO
website Registration.
ISAGO audit reports
ISAGO audit reports are the final products of any
audits conducted. Audit reports are placed in an
IATA database where they are accessible to any
active Pool member that is, an airline that signed
the multilateral agreement with IATA and which
performs ISAGO audits on a regular basis according
to the assigned annual allocation. Every audit report
that is shared with the pool members undergoes the
quality control check done by the auditing airline
and IATA to ensure the accuracy of the information

The ISAGO Oversight Council

Auditors training

An ISAGO Oversight Council has been established

to guide IATA in its role as steward of the Program.
The Oversight Council consists of a blend of pool
member airlines and ground handling companies

The quality of the ISAGO Auditors is a critical to

ensuring each audit is conducted in a standardized
and consistent manner. In addition to meeting
qualification and experience criteria, all auditors
conducting ISAGO Audits must undergo the formal
ISAGO Auditor Training Course. The training is
focused on the proper ISAGO audit methodology
including usage of the audit software and correct
interpretation of the standards. Special focus is given
to mandatory assessment and gaining evidence
to ensure each standard is fully documented and

Airport authorities and regulators are encouraged

to participate in meetings of the ISAGO Oversight
Council to further enhance the ISAGO program.
The ISAGO Oversight Council GOC) acts as advisor to
the Operational Committee, lATA management and
other relevant lATA bodies on all matters that relate
to the ISAGO program. It provides recommendations
on how to implement those measures in a rational,
coordinated and cost-effective manner. Areas of
activity include:
On-going development of the ISAGO
documentation system, that includes the Standards
Manual, Program Manual
Issues that have an impact on the integrity of
ISAGO, including quality assurance and external
industry factors
Regulatory and airport authority policies
associated with the program
Policy recommendations to improve ISAGO and
ground operational safety

Recurrent training and training for Lead Auditors is

also offered by IATA and its free of charge for pool
member airline.
Auditors performance
Auditors performance is measured via a quality
control process and also via industry feedback. The
GSPs are required to submit the feedback survey
related to auditors performance and their knowledge
of ISAGO standards and proper use of ISAGO audit
methodology. Quality assurance audits are performed
by IATA in order to assess on-site performance of
auditors when performing the station audits. The
mixed team concept as well supports the harmonized
and consistent approach to auditing when auditors
share their experience amongst each other when
auditing together in one team.

Recurrent training and training for Lead

Auditors is also offered by IATA and its free
of charge for pool member airline.

ISAGO Documentation structure

GOSM The ISAGO Standards Manual

Q5AIMS The Auditor and Auditee Manuals

The ISAGO Standards Manual (GOSM) is published

in order to provide the operational standards,
recommended practices and associated guidance
material necessary for the Audit of a ground service
provider. The GOSM may also be used as a guide by
any provider desiring to structure its management and
operational control systems to be in conformity with
the latest industry operational practices. The GOSM
is the sole source of assessment criteria utilized by
ISAGO auditors when conducting an Audit.

The aim of these user manuals is to provide

procedures and guidance to assist Auditors and
Ground Service Providers (GSP) in processing ISAGO
audit while using the audit software and to support the
program objective of providing acceptable quality and
value in ISAGO corporate and station reports.

GOPM The ISAGO Program Manual

The ISAGO Program Manual (GOPM) is published in
order to make the complete body of standards that
govern all aspects of the ISAGO Program available
as a single source. Standards in the GOPM provide
the basis for program standardization, which ensures
that each audit is conducted in a consistent manner.
In addition, the standards contained in the GOPM
form the basis for the system used by IATA to
provide quality oversight and management of the
ISAGO Program.
IRM The IATA Reference Manual for Audit
The IATA Reference Manual for Audit Programs
(IRM) defines the abbreviations and terms that are
associated with the standards and recommended
practices contained in the IOSA Standards Manual
(ISM) and ISAGO Standards Manual (GOSM),
as well as the standards contained in the
IOSA Program Manual (IPM) and the ISAGO
Program Manual (GOPM).

ISAGO audit program management is

ISO-CEN 9001:2008 certied!

Did you know?

IATA in cooperation with Pool members recently launched
a new ISAGO strategy.

Join us today and get The Integrated Solution for

Ground Operations

The core principles are:


Safety focus

By participating in ISAGO you will also get the

opportunity to collect the ground damage data
through the IATA Ground Damage Database
that will help you establish a baseline for ground
damage performance, identify negative trends and
contributing factors and allow you to develop proper
mitigation actions which can lead to injury and cost
reduction in the ground operations area. Also, with
ISAGO, you will bring to your ground operation, a
degree of consistency in the operating procedures
and processes that are aligned worldwide as
ISAGO standards are linked with the IATA Ground
Operations Manual (IGOM). IGOM is the core
instructional manual for all ground operations and
provides standard procedures, instructions, and
score cards for frontline personnel.

Streamlining of the current processes

Program relevancy

Clear benefits to the industry

The Strategy implementation plan covers various topics, from:
audit allocation methodology
increasing pool membership
correlation with GDDB
use of a risk based approach
IGOM alignment
shaping the regulatory framework

Want to join the program?

Any IOSA registered airline can participate
in the program, and any ground service provider
can apply for an ISAGO audit. With so many clear
benefits for both sides, can you afford not to?
Fore more information, please contact:
IATA Montreal
Tel.: +1 514 874 0202