During a recent flight, I witnessed a passenger dropping rubbish onto the ramp just before boarding the aircraft. It reminded me of my time in the aviation industry, (#Swissport) where ramp safety was of utmost importance. Today, I’d like to shed light on the critical importance of managing Foreign Object Debris (FOD) in the aviation industry, particularly on the ramp.

What is FOD?

Foreign Object Debris includes any object or debris foreign to the aircraft, the ramp, or the airside environment. These items, regardless of their size, pose a potential risk to aircraft, airside equipment, and personnel. FOD is not limited to the ramp but can occur on runways, taxiways, aprons, and other areas where aircraft operations take place.

Types of FOD

FOD can manifest in various forms, such as:

  • Small screws or bolts left behind during maintenance work.
  • Broken pieces of passenger luggage, often a result of baggage loading or unloading.
  • Rubberized layers from jet bridge caster wheels.
  • Lost items like keys inadvertently dropped by ramp personnel.

FOD damage can take many forms, including:

  • Aircraft body damage from collisions with objects. – For example, the cost to repair a FOD-damaged engine can easily exceed $1 million or the Purchase cost of a new engine $8 to 10 million.
  • Aircraft tire damage, especially when sharp objects puncture them, the average price per tyre for a 737 is about $1500, its on average $5000 for a widebody main tyre
  • Jet engine ingestion leads to mechanical damage. new engine $8 to 10 million and more.

Concorde Tragedy

One tragic FOD-related incident that highlights the gravity of this issue is the Concorde crash on July 25, 2000. Air France Flight 4590, taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport, ran over debris on the runway, causing a tire to explode and leading to a catastrophic crash.

My Takeaway

Managing FOD is not just a best practice; it’s a critical element of ensuring passenger and ramp safety. It’s a collective responsibility of aviation authorities, airlines, ground handling companies, and airport operators.

As Passengers we all Let’s remain vigilant and prioritize FOD prevention to keep our skies safe and operations smooth.

#AviationSafety #RampSafety #FODPrevention #FlightSafety #AviationIndustry #SafetyFirst #training