While safety is a key part of airport ramp operations, the complexity of ground operations often results in accidents, many of which could have been prevented. According to the Flight Safety Foundation, 27,000 airport ramp accidents and incidents occur every year across the globe, or one per 1,000 departures. These incidents translate into about $10 billion in costs every year for airlines.

What causes airport ramp accidents?

Human error continues to be a major cause of preventable airport ramp accidents. Among the most common human-error-related safety issues that may lead to an accident are:

  • Speeding
  • Unsecured luggage
  • Personnel movement in restricted areas
  • Not following safety protocols

Why do airport ramp accidents occur?


Despite speed limits that apply to all apron vehicles, many drivers travel too fast, which can increase the odds of an accident. Some vehicles that operate on the ground are heavy—too heavy to stop quickly if they are violating speed limits.

Airports and airlines can reduce speeding violations using various technologies that track how fast each vehicle travels on the apron. Synaptic Aviation’s AI technology can track unsafe driving habits on the apron, alert in real-time about it, and prevent it from reoccurring while allowing ground operations personnel to review and learn from mistakes.

Unsecured Luggage

Improperly loaded luggage can become unstable during transit. If a piece of luggage falls out of the cart transporting it to or from the aircraft, it becomes foreign object debris (FOD). If it is undetected or if personnel fail to retrieve it in a timely manner, it can cause accidents and injuries to others driving on the apron.

AI technology from Synaptic Aviation accurately detects pre-arrival FOD walks and alerts the relevant parties to help them keep the apron clear and safe.

Personnel in Restricted Areas

In a perfect world, ground support personnel would not enter into restricted areas, but it still happens quite often. For instance, if they are in a rush, they may drive GSEs near the jet engines or under the wings of an aircraft to cut down their time. Doing so not only increases the risk of damage to the aircraft and GSE but also could put ground support lives at risk.

Preventing movement within restricted areas can be difficult because it can happen fast. However, with AI technology that detects movement in predetermined restricted areas, ground support managers can show their crew when these mistakes happen to help them learn from them.

Not Following Safety Protocols

Complacency is often the root cause of many accidents on the apron. Unfortunately, excess confidence hunts experienced workers and new hires alike, and what seems to look like unnecessary or redundant but necessary tasks are ignored resulting in injuries and costly damages. Making safety stops before approaching the aircraft with a vehicle or following the correct driving patterns in the proximity of the engines can add unnecessary time or complexity to each task but those procedures were implemented for a reason. With the use of Ai technology on the ground, it is easy to detect risky behaviors and take steps to prevent them before they become habits.

Training personnel about the consequences of ignoring safety protocols can help mitigate future occurrences. It is critical for everyone working on the apron to promote a culture of safety and our AI technology helps to ensure that team members on the ground have the necessary tools to learn about the risks and the common mistakes in their environment. With a smart video database and notifications that are triggered in real-time, it is now possible to provide relevant feedback to put safety at the center of what they do.  

Synaptic Aviation for Better Safety Monitoring

Interested in learning how Synaptic Aviation can help you and your team stay safe on the apron? Request a demo at synapticaviation.com or contact us at 844-505-4496.


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