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World in motion

A successful APEX in Safety review at Quito bodes well for the region at large, writes Danny Boutin.

Allan Padilla, director of operations at Quito International Airport, is a proponent of the APEX in Safety programme and believes that developing a safety culture in airports across the Latin America-Caribbean region should be a top priority. 

When an airport volunteers to host a safety review of its aerodrome’s physical characteristics, Safety Management Systems, Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting and operational procedures, you can only applaud their openness to change and willingness to nurture a culture of safety. 

ACI World’s APEX in Safety programme, created to assist airports in developing countries enhance their safety levels and ultimately reach national CAA certification, is increasingly being requested by airports
large and small around the world.

It is designed to help airports worldwide identify and address safety vulnerabilities. The programme is built on the ICAO principles of information transparency, and reviews take place in a non-punitive ‘just culture’ environment where sharing data and best practices leads to excellence. 

In February 2012, Allan Padilla, then director of operations for SAP Ramon Villeda Morales International Airport (San Pedro Sula, Honduras), requested an APEX in Safety review to be held in order to enhance safety and give his staff the opportunity to grow, learn and exchange with peers from various airports and develop a keen interest in making their airport safer. 

Now the director of operations at Quito International Airport (UIO) in Ecuador, Padilla was determined once again to host a peer review at his new airport even though it was still in its first year of operations.

Indeed, the fact that Quito’s new gateway has a good safety record made it the ideal time to ask peer experts for recommendations in order to ensure that they were consistently exploring all opportunities to further enhance their safety performance.

The review, held at the airport from July 7-11, provided its operating management company, Airports Worldwide (formerly ADC & HAS Airports Worldwide), with a broader network of industry contacts from around the Americas. 

Safety experts from San Antonio, Aruba and Sarasota Manatee International airports joined with the director general of ACI Latin America-Caribbean, Javier Martinez, and ACI World team leaders, Juan Manual Manriquez and me, to perform the review.

“ICAO has called on the industry to embrace safety as its number one priority. APEX is the correct, comprehensive and voluntary initiative for airports to effectively assess and improve their safety standards,” said Martinez upon Quito’s successful completion of the APEX in Safety review.

“I applaud Quito International Airport for its commitment to achieving excellence in safety, supported by the expertise of the ACI APEX in Safety team.”

Given his commitment to the APEX in Safety programme, Allan Padilla can certainly be seen as a leader in promoting a safety culture within in his own organisation, as well as the Latin America-Caribbean region at large. 

“It has been a tremendous experience participating once again in the APEX programme,” he said. “Quito International Airport will benefit from this safety review, performed by worldwide airport professionals. 

“Additionally, it is a pleasure to see how the APEX in Safety programme has matured and improved since our first review in Honduras a couple of years ago. I would like to take this opportunity to invite other airports in the region, and indeed around the world, to take advantage of this great programme, which will without a doubt enhance your airport’s safety and that of your region at large.”

About the author
Danny Boutin is ACI World’s senior safety assessor, APEX in Safety.

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Mark Draper

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