Air travel has long been regarded as the safest mode of transport – the industry’s tough regulatory framework often means we take the safety of travelling by air for granted. Surely, nearly every airline in the world will operate in compliance with recognised international standards we assume. Yet Qatar Airways is taking nothing for granted.
The airline was recently voted the ‘World’s Best Airline’ in the annual Skytrax awards which would probably be enough of a sales pitch to convince potential customers to book their flight with Qatar Airways. But now the Doha-based airline can point to yet another reason to pick it over rival carriers.
Today, Qatar Airways announced it had achieved a perfect 100% compliance in an Operational Safety Audit by the International Air Travel Association (IATA). The association represents some 275 airlines worldwide – making up about 83% of all scheduled air traffic. When IATA creates a set of standards it goes way above that of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Qatar Airways describes itself as an “industry leader in aviation safety” and this latest news cements that fact. The airline was the first carrier in the world to gain 100% compliance in 2003. Since then, Qatar Airways has achieved a perfect score in every audit which is conducted every two years.
Tough safety and security audit process
The Operational Safety Audit or IOSA as it’s known is an internationally-accepted safety and security audit process. Independent auditors visit airlines who wish to participate in the programme to assess the carrier’s safety and security processes. The breadth and depth of the audit is staggering – areas that are scrutinised include corporate management, flight operations, operational control, flight dispatch, aircraft engineering and maintenance, cabin operations, aircraft ground handling, cargo operations and operational security.
“At Qatar Airways, safety and security are always our highest priorities. They are expressed in everything we do,” explained the airline’s chief executive, Akbar Al Baker. He continued: “We were pleased to be the first airline audited under the IOSA program in 2003, and we remain very proud of maintaining our unblemished safety and security record yet again in 2017. This achievement provides continued assurance that Qatar Airways meets world class safety and security standards.”
New security processes implemented by Qatar’s home airport
In the last few weeks, Qatar’s home airport at Hamad International Airport in Doha recently proved it could comply with tough new security requirements laid down by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As a result of those improvements, the U.S. Laptop Ban was lifted on Qatar Airways flights to the United States.
The airline said, “it is consistently among the first airlines to accommodate EU, UK and US immigration and enhanced security requirements.”
First airline to attain compliance with baggage handling rules
Earlier this year, Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport became the first airline to attain full compliance with IATA’s Resolution 753 – the ability to track every piece of baggage from the start of the journey all the way through to its finish.
The airline developed its own Baggage Management System known as “HAQIBA” in-house to proactively manage delayed bags and optimise the baggage handling process. Passengers can get real-time updates on the whereabouts of their luggage through the airline’s website and mobile app.
Resolution 753 was designed to reduce luggage mishandling and baggage fraud. It was passed in 2016 and all IATA members will have to attain compliance by June 2018. Speaking for IATA, Nick Careen said at the time: “Qatar Airways’ efforts over the past year to comply with IATA Resolution 753 on Baggage Tracking have paid off. We congratulate the airline on becoming the first in the world to achieve full compliance with the resolution at their hub in Doha.