The aviation industry is set to boom, with passenger numbers surging in the next couple of decades. According a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 7.2 billion passengers are expected to travel by air in 2035, which is nearly double what there is today: 3.8 billion. Given these massive changes currently taking place in the industry, it is very clear that updated ISO standards are needed to be put in place to ensure international compliance across all developing areas.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-government international body with a membership of 163 national standards bodies. They were founded on 23 February 1947, and to this date continue to create standards that companies can be certified to. They have a different acronym in different countries (IOS in English, OIN in French), so it was founders gave it the short name ISO, which is derived from the Greek isos, which means equal.
The standards developed by the ISO provide world-class specifications for products, services and systems and they are important in facilitating international trade and ensuring quality, safety and efficiency across a range of industries.
The Russian Government is currently in the process of rebuilding their civil aviation industry. The Irkut MC-21 is expected to take off and fly for the first time this year and features a 10% greater carrying capacity than other plans. With their competitive new designs Russia hopes to become the third largest aircraft manufacture in the world by 2025.
The major aerospace companies are aware that as the aviation industry continues to grow, it is necessary to ensure that environmental impact is kept to a minimum. Boeing has expressed its plans to continue innovating and improving their efficiency and environmental performance. “The 787 Dreamliner family reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by 20 % to 25 % compared to the airplanes it replaces. The 737 MAX, with first delivery expected in 2017, will reduce fuel use and emissions by 20 % compared to the original Next-Generation 737.”
Airbus is finding solutions to these problems through new ideas, technologies and processes.
Séverin Drogoul, Airbus Groupʼs Vice-President of Business Improvement & Quality says, “To meet our goals, we are looking at the whole life cycle of our aircraft, from design to manufacture, in-flight operations to end-of-life, and at each stage in the life of an aircraft we are finding the solutions to improve our environmental performance.”
According to Alexey Abramov, Head of the Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology of the Russian Federation. “Today, standardization in the aviation sector faces a number of challenges as aircraft manufacturers are pushed out of their comfort zone of intra-industry competition.” Abramov goes on to start that only ISO can (and should) be the leader of standards development at this new stage in the aviation industry.”
The development of airport infrastructure is lagging, and traffic at some airports is already exceeding their planned capacity. There are many challenges that are being faced as airports try and meet the increasing number of passengers, freight and baggage in the most cost-efficient manner possible.
Many airports were designed years ago with the traffic at the time in mind. According to IATA’s Director-General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac, no matter how much or how quickly we innovate processes, “there is no getting around the need to be both smart and quick in growing airport and airspace capacity”. He cited rising congestion, particularly in Europe, while pointing to fast-growing areas in the Gulf region and China. “I fear that we may be headed for an infrastructure crisis that will impact air traveller.”
It is evident that as these changes take place, there is no consistency in regulations around the world. Airports involve a wide number of stakeholders and sources of revenue and there is a considerable variation in how guidelines from the International Civil Aviation Organisation are implemented. Overall airport organisation is all subject to different standards, such as aircraft maintenance, flight operations, security services and air traffic control.
According to Felder, large and sophisticated airports operate in a variety of standards regimes. Take, for instance, aircraft avionics. These are built to internationally coordinated standards brought into effect, for example, by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) in the US and the European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE) in the European Union. Physical structures are the domain of civil engineering as practised in the airportʼs national environment; and signage, lighting and navigation are subject to ICAO rules. As the worldʼs airways become more crowded and the building of new sites more challenging, standardization clearly is on the radar.
ISO/TC 20 Aircraft and space vehicles
ISO/TC 20 covers the standardization of materials, components and equipment for construction and operation of aircraft and space vehicles as well as equipment used in the servicing and maintenance of these vehicles.
The recently created subcommittee SC 17, Airport infrastructure, is expected to give a much clearer picture of the entire scope of the problems. The end result will be the development of International Standards for airport infrastructure, such as:
- Flightpath for standards
- Grooving of landing and take-off lanes
- Asphaltic ecologic paving
- Vertical signalling with painting and electric-electronic boards (painted and lighted signage)
- Airplane at the gate
As a result, designers will be able to make greater use of international standards, specifying industrial requirements for materials. With the emergence of new products in the aviation industry, the standardization of composite materials used by aircraft and engine manufacturers is a necessity. It addresses the need to improve technical communication in the supply chain with the new subcommittee carrying out this vital role.
“One of the most sensitive tasks for the standardization of airport infrastructure is adjudicating the role of the various standards-setting entities with interest and jurisdiction in the airport environment,” he said. “From the ISO/TS 20/SC 17 point of view, the main objective needs to be ʻnot to attempt to do too much too soonʼ. We need to understand where the greatest advantage in standardization may be and focus on that.”