Safety Assessment Of Foreign Aircraft (State of Qatar – SAFA Program)
This section explains the State of Qatar Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) program established by an Administrative Order: A.O. – OPS 01 of 2012: “Governing the safety of aircraft operated by foreign operators using State airports” and the role of The State in it.
Further Offical information on this, can be found here.
International civil aviation is governed by the Convention on International Civil Aviation (commonly known as the Chicago Convention). Under this Convention, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, sets the minimum Standards and Recommended Practices for international civil aviation. These standards are contained in 18 Annexes to the Convention. Individual States remain responsible for regulating their aviation industries but have to take into account the requirements of the Convention and the minimum standards established by ICAO.
The main standards that apply to airlines are in three of the 18 Annexes.
• Annex 1 deals with personnel licensing including flight crew
• Annex 6 deals with the operation of aircraft
• Annex 8 deals with airworthiness.
The responsibility for implementing Annexes 1 and 8 rests with the State of Registry, that is the State in which the aircraft is registered. The responsibility for implementing Annex 6 rests with the State of Operator, the State in which the airline is based. Often the State of Operator and the State of Registry will be the same, as airlines tend to operate aircraft registered in the State in which they are based.
Significant increases in the volume of air travel over the last decades or so have made it more of a burden for many States to oversee their airlines in compliance with the Chicago Convention. To maintain confidence in the system, and to protect the interest of the Qatari citizens who may be living in the vicinity of airports or travelling onboard a third-country aircraft, the State identified the need to effectively enforce international safety standards within the State. This is done through the execution of ramp inspections on third-country aircraft landing at the airports located in the State of Qatar. The official definition of 'third-country aircraft' is an aircraft which is not used or operated under the control of a competent authority of The State of Qatar.
Which aircraft and operators are checked and how often ?
The Air Safety Department (Qatar Civil Aviation Authority - QCAA) SAFA body within the State of Qatar choose which aircraft to inspect. The SAFA body carries out random inspections or target aircraft or airlines that it suspects may not comply with ICAO standards. In either case only a very small proportion of third country aircraft operating into the State are inspected.
Depending on the volume of third country flights and the availability of inspectors, the number of inspections may vary.
What is checked ?
Checks may include
• licenses of the pilots;
• procedures and manuals that should be carried in the cockpit;
• compliance with these procedures by flight and cabin crew;
• safety equipment in cockpit and cabin;
• cargo carried in the aircraft; and
• the technical condition of the aircraft.
How are checks performed ?
A checklist of 54 inspection items is used during a SAFA Ramp Check. As the time between arrival and departure (the turn-around time) may not be sufficient to go through the full checklist, not all 54 items may be inspected. It is SAFA policy not to delay an aircraft except for safety reasons.
Obviously any major findings will immediately be communicated to all concerned parties. In cases of more serious findings, the oversight authority of the State will contact its counterpart in the State responsible for the airline, passing on its findings and asking for any necessary corrective actions. The oversight authority will also inform the aircraft's captain and the headquarters of the airline.
When findings directly affect the safety of the aircraft, its crew and passengers, the QCAA may request immediate corrective action before the aircraft can take off. If rectification of the deficiencies requires more time or needs to be performed at another airport, the QCAA may, in coordination with the State responsible for the operation of the aircraft concerned or the State of registration of the aircraft, decide to authorize a positioning flight (a flight to a specific destination without passengers or cargo onboard) and also prescribe the necessary conditions under which the aircraft can be allowed to fly to that specific airport.
The QCAA will participate in a mutual exchange of information to other competent authorities concerned. All standard reports referred to in Article 4(4) of Administrative Order A.O. Ops 01 of 2012 shall be made available without delay and at the their request, to other competent authorities concerned.
In general all inspection results may be made by the State will be made available to the Competent Authorities of another State.
Whenever an inspection shows the existence of a potential safety threat, or shows that an aircraft does not comply with international safety standards and may pose a potential safety threat, the inspection report will be communicated without delay to the State responsible for the operation of the aircraft concerned or the State of registration of the aircraft . In accordance with Law 15 and Administrative Order: A.O.- OPS01 of 2012, Article 9, may take actions to the imposition of a ban or conditions on operations.
Legal Notice: Applicable information under Annex A & B of This Document applies to the SAFA program within the State of Qatar
Operators having any questions regarding a ramp inspection they have been subject to, should contact the inspecting authority; the contact details should be mentioned on the copy of the Proof of Inspection Form handed over to the flight crew after the inspection.
Program Coordinator SAFA Qatar
Mobile: +974 6668 6740
Office : +974 4455 7208
Fax : +974 4465 4761
P.O. Box 3000, Doha, State of Qatar