Aircraft ground deicing is a highly niche, and highly regulated, part of air carrier operations, requiring expertise, time-proven programs and strong oversight to achieve performance, compliance and safety of operations.
All airlines, big or small, are responsible for developing and maintaining ground deicing programs and training programs that are subject to regulatory oversight and approval. In addition, airlines are required to develop and implement quality assurance programs that ensure that established and approved deicing processes and procedures are effectively utilized by employees and contracted service providers at each airport.
Most large airlines with high exposure to winter operations have devoted personnel to manage ground deicing, but this is not the case with many smaller airlines. While these smaller operators are bound by the same regulatory requirements as larger carriers, it’s improbable that smaller airlines will employ top-line expertise to fulfill only the deicing portfolio and often will achieve deicing functional needs with less-experienced and less-costly personnel options, or simply pile deicing responsibilities onto the shoulders of already overburdened personnel.
The situation ultimately results in what I call a “minimum compliance mindset” for many smaller carriers, who do the bare minimum to get by on a daily basis with poor programs and training and quality assurance and reactively plug holes in their operation on a per-need basis, sometimes with their hair on fire because of the nature of the identified issue or deficiency and time sensitivities needed for the fix. The reality of this approach is that companies are at the mercy of their meagre performance and are not agile enough to implement change on the fly. This is further complicated by the fact that global regulators have become highly divested and reactive as well.
So how do you get predictable performance? It’s relatively simple in my opinion. In human relationships, you either need to invest your attention and energy into the relationship and actively own it or you should get out entirely, and I think the same holds true for deicing. You need to invest or get out. Period. Without the focused investment in time, resources and structure, deicing results will never be good and will only end up causing grief and heartache and costing more time and money in the end.
The nice thing about being in 2018 is that it is entirely feasible for an air carrier to get out of deicing altogether and to outsource all aspects of operations, management and oversight to a focused third party. With the advent of SureConsult’s harmonized deicing programs and training and quality assurance, a proactive deicing strategy can be developed and implemented for pretty much any carrier and any budget. You don’t even need to manage it either. We could do that for you.
Wouldn’t predictable performance be fun for a change? Call us to discuss your options.