Corporate safety is considered as one of the key values of Emirates Airlines. The company endeavors to ensure the safety of the passengers, their goods and Emirates staffs through commitment to international safety practices and to any other safety standards that are available to them. Emirates Airlines has developed a safety management system that aligns with the international SMS from ICAO. The Emirates SMS focuses on four components including safety assurance; safety policy; safety promotion and safety risk management. These components work collaboratively and each employee is tasked with ensuring that they have the capacity to maintain safety in their various work posts. Through regular training and communication, the group safety supports and guides each of the departments on safety best practices (Emirates par. 4- 5). This entails assisting departments to gain an understanding of the hazard identification, risk management and assessments as well as maintenance practices among others.
Emirates Safety Assurance
The safety assurance component at the Emirates Airlines is described based on a series of SPIs and SPTs, which influence the predictability of accidents occurring. The organization has put in place a pictorial event threat for mid- air collision as well as a combination of factors and deficiencies that result in such eventualities. To achieve even greater clarity in communicating the safety assurance practices at Emirates, the organization has highlighted some safety related eventualities including loss of control, overrun of the runway/ ground excursion, ground collision, ground incursion, airborne conflict, ground handling and fire incidences (Holt 14). The general outlook of the Emirates safety assurance practices align with the ICAO SMS, which describes the organizational accident through three major pathways of normalization of deviance; latent conditions and the workplace environment pathways (ICAO 2-8). Each of these pathways is associated with different safety risk conditions and each can be monitored and maintained at safe working conditions through different practices. For instance, just like in the ICAO SMA, Emirates asserts that the different potential risks can be prevented by setting up SPIs and SPTs, which explain the characteristics of expected deviances by indicating the what, how, where and why such eventualities would occur. This helps to monitor the pathways as described by ICAO through identification of problems and rectification before they result in organizational accidents. ICAO SMS explains that latent conditions have to be identified and defenses reinforced. On the other hand, the work place conditions have to be improved in order for active failures to be contained. A similar perception is developed by Emirates Airlines through their SMS.
Safety Performance Monitoring and Measurement
Safety performance monitoring as outlined in each of the SMSs is linked to the different safety pathways associated with each of them. The main objective of the SMS as explained by ICAO is to ensure that safety risks are identified based on the pathways through which accidents can occur. Once identified, the risks can be mitigated through reinforcement of the latent conditions that may result in safety failure. At Emirates Airlines, safety performance monitoring and measurement, which are an integral part of safety management, are achieved through a well established system of SPIs and SPTs. The implementation begins from identification of the potential safety risks and issues. The explanation of what entails the risks includes identification of the variables to be measured at every node; definition of terms; past trends or reports; and the safety targets that can be set in each of the nodes. Through this initial characterization, a profile is developed for each of the nodes, making it easy to recognize safety risks as soon as they appear. This is followed by the second stage which is description of how the data should be sourced and combined; how the information should be base-lined and whether there should be a specific safety target for the node. The places of data sourcing and combination and the information source must also be specified. The airline also has a provision for explaining the justifications for safety measures in each of the nodes (Holt 15).
With the highlighted SPIs and SPTSs, Emirates Airlines manages to monitor the organizational safety practices and achievements based on set baselines and the set targets for each period. In spite of the efforts made by the Emirates Airlines to achieve effective control of safety conditions through the SPIs and SPTs, there are still some challenges to the implementation of the same. For instance, Holt (17) describes some of the challenges including: lack of clarity in the definitions of various SPTs, risk based approach to SPI implementation which is phased; integration of human factors which affect the SPIs; internal and state safety communication; safety action plans and practices alignment with ICAO practices standards. The practices and challenges associated with safety monitoring and measurement at Emirates Airlines correspond to the descriptions provided by ICAO. According to Air Traffic Organization (8-9), safety assurance provides tenets through which safety performance can be measured and evaluated. Safety assurance practices help to determine whether the recommended safety requirements have been implemented or are performing as intended. Air Traffic Organization (10) opines that the safety risk management procedure is a proactive as well as reactive practice in safety assessment process. It entails identification of hazards in the airline and taking appropriate measures where the hazards have been identified. Considering the application of SPIs and SPTs to safety measurement and monitoring at Emirates Airlines is an indication of the airlines alignment with the ATO and ICAOs description of safety in relation to aviation.
Change management in the context of Emirates Airlines comes in through the implementation of recommended safety practices at each point in the safety assurance procedure. It may entail concepts such as safety communication and promotion among the employees of the airline. According to Emirates (par. 9-10), the airline focuses on acquiring information about current and future trends in aviation safety as well as on the ICAO and ATO policies. Based on this information, decisions are made to analyze processes and the environment in order to identify the future hazards and to mitigate them before they are experienced. With such preparedness, the organizational ability to transform with industry and environmental changes is undoubted. Furthermore, the organization has also reported on its desire to continue being a safety leader in the aviation industry, and focuses on the newest trends such as the utilization if the concept of big data in the analysis of aviation information to make the most relevant progress in terms of safety management and monitoring. The focus of the entire safety management system as per ICAO is on ensuring that an organization aligns its processes and safety measures to the organizational needs in reference to safety management. With this as the focal point, it is presumable that the ICAO policies will also change as other risks are identified and the operational environment changes.
Air Traffic Organization. SMS safety management system manual. FAA Air traffic Organization, July 2017. Retrieved from www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/media/ATO-SMS-Manual.pdf
Emirates. Managing safety at Emirates: an interview with Captain Mark Burtonwood. Flight Safety Foundation, 2016. Retrieved from flightsafety.org/asw-article/managing-safety-emirates/
Holt, Carl. Implementing SMS. Safety Management Workshop, 2015. Retrieved from www.icao.int/MID/Documents/2015/Safety%20Management%20Workshop/1e_2015-May-ICAO%20SM%20Workshop-Emirates-Final-v1.pdf
ICAO. Safety management manual (SMM). International Civil Aviation Authority, 2009. Retrieved from www.icao.int/safety/fsix/Library/DOC_9859_FULL_EN.pdf