IATA has high hopes for audit reduction programme

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IATA hopes to expand airline endorsement of its Smart Facility Operational Capacity (SFOC) audit this year after signing up SATS Singapore and the country’s flag carrier to the project.

Glyn Hughes, IATA’s global head of cargo, told Air Cargo Week: “We anticipate many airlines conducting their individual gap analyses and signing the ARC (Audit Reduction Agreement).

“This is a crucial step for the programme’s adoption across cargo handling operators and achieving our stated audit reduction goal for the entire industry.”

SATS Airport Services handles 85% of the cargo coming through Singapore Changi Airport, and is one of the busiest cargo and mail handlers in the world.

The cargo handling facility became the first one to be SFOC certified after the programme went live in December 2019. Singapore Airlines was the first carrier to sign the ARC, which specifies the reduced audit scope and frequency applied to all certified facilities.

The Smart Facility Project, which was initiated in 2017, is intended to reduce duplicated cargo handling audit efforts by up to 50%. The programme develops a mutually recognised central audit program that covers industry standard cargo handling procedures shared by all airlines.

The SFOC Audit certifies that facilities adhere to all cargo handling related standards and recommended practices in IATA’s cargo handling manual and regulations. It reduces redundant efforts across the industry by removing the need for individual carriers to validate generic cargo operational procedures.

In 2018, the SFOC was pilot-tested in six cargo handling facilities around the world under airline observation. The pilots ensured that the programme is robust and satisfies the airlines’ operational quality and oversight obligation.