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Ravn Alaska Seeks International Air Safety Certification

Ravn passengers can now fly directly to Kotzebue from Anchorage and back. Photo Credit: Davis Hovey, KNOM (2017).

Ravn Alaska could be the first Alaska-based airline to be certified under international safety standards.

Bruce Joseph is Ravn Alaska’s Executive Vice President of Safety, Security, and Compliance. He says the airline has begun the process of becoming certified with the International Air Transport Association’s Operational Safety Audit (I-OSA):

“One of the things that is noteworthy about the I-OSA standard is that it is the gold standard worldwide. It is worldwide best practices and operation. It’s many, many years of history and cycles and repetition by some pretty major hitters around the world: British Airways, Cathay Pacific, those kind of operations. And what it does is, it brings the benefit of their experience from worldwide best practices to us.”

If Ravn Alaska is successfully I-OSA certified, then they will be the first Alaska-based airline to have that status. Joseph says Ravn and other Alaska planes need these specific safety requirements to reduce the number of future crashes:

“The decision was made before a couple of those accidents that just helped shed some light on the need to enhance safety all around. The interesting statistic that goes with it that I’ve heard is, although only a quarter of 1% of the U.S. population lives in the State of Alaska, 20% of aviation accidents occur here. That’s somewhat of a skewed statistic, because it doesn’t take into consideration that there’s probably 50% more aviation in Alaska than there is in every other state in the lower 48.”

Joseph believes other Alaska-based airlines haven’t gone through the International certification yet because I-OSA imposes “rigorous” standards on their operations.

“It’s every aspect of the operation, from flight maintenance, cabin flight attendants, how we handle airplanes on the ground, how we ship cargo, how we handle the luggage that our passengers check, how we fuel the airplane, how we de-ice the plane. It is a top-to-bottom, very rigorous standard.”

For Ravn Alaska passengers, Joseph says these standards and audits will make for a more consistently operated flight from any Ravn terminal, including Ted Stevens International Airport and the Ravn terminal in Nome.

It is expected that the IOSA certification could be a year-long process for Ravn, and Joseph says the airline took its first steps towards this international safety status three weeks ago.

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