CC6325

11th December 2023

Arming of doors against SOP

Initial Report

The SCCM told all ground staff to leave the aircraft. At this time, the Flight crew made a PA. The intro PA from the flight deck which is normally done during boarding.

During the flight deck PA I received an interphone call to my door. I answered as SOP “Name at door”. I could tell it was the SCCM by their distinctive accent, they didn’t say their name and what door they were calling from, as per the SOP. They said “Can you arm your door now please” and hung up.

I was thrown off guard as it wasn’t the standard PA to instruct us to arm doors for departure. I also didn’t know if I was just arming my door or mine and the door opposite me, as that door was uncovered at the time (SOP is to walk across and arm the door if the crew member isn’t at their door yet and then verbally inform them their door is armed). I began second guessing myself if it was just my door they wanted arming in case of controlled disembarkation or another situation that I wasn’t aware of.

I decided to arm both doors and call the back to check if they had received the same call from the SCCM. Which we said was very strange way to do it. It was confusing as it went against procedures and was not SOP.

The senior also made another incorrect PA regarding doors on the inbound sector.

On the flight we had crew on their familiarisation flight who didn’t know what this announcement meant. This led to confusion on what the announcement meant. And one CC thought it meant we were standing by to an emergency (the PA Cabin Crew Standby)

Company Comment

We encourage all crew members to submit internal reports within the organisation. In line with our SMS (Safety Management System), we robustly protect our just reporting culture which allows the organisation to identify root causes and apply preventative actions to prevent re-occurrence. However, if a crew member feels that their report should be treated in an anonymous manner, we have an additional anonymous reporting system that can be utilised instead.

On the basis of what was reported to CHIRP, it is unusual for the PIC to make an announcement at that stage but can sometimes occur for a variety of reasons. The SCCM could have waited until the PIC PA was finished and then make a PA cabin crew to prepare doors for departure.

The SCCM allegedly elected to deviate from company SOP and called the door area via interphone to prepare the door for departure without utilising correct arming terminology. This action affected the arming of slides SOPs. However, safety has not been compromised as ultimately it is assumed that the SCCM checked the relevant crew panel and visually made sure all doors were armed prior to departure in line with SOP.

For the inbound sector, this announcement is standard and embedded within our procedures and training for both cabin crew and flight crew. The report indicates that some crew members were allegedly not aware of this command being used.

CAA Comment

Deviations from standard operating procedures, especially concerning errors or near-misses, should be report using the operator’s reporting scheme. This is essential to enable implementation of measures to prevent re-occurrence and escalation of severity.

CHIRP Comment

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are designed to ensure consistency during a process such as the arming of aircraft doors, having a SOP in place allows every crew member to be aware of the procedure and of what should happen next. If for safety reasons, after considering the risk and safety impact, you have deviated from SOPs you should communicate this to your crew and the commander. Deviations from standard operating procedures, especially concerning errors or near-misses, should be report using the operator’s reporting scheme.  This is essential to enable implementation of measures to prevent re-occurrence and escalation of severity.

Due to the use of the PA by the flight crew, the SCCM crew member was unable to make the standard PA as per the operators door arming SOP. Without the SCCM deviating from the door arming SOP and making an interphone call rather than a PA, the aircraft may have been taxiing for several minutes with unarmed doors, which is also against the SOP.

There may be reasons why the commands were incorrect on the day that can be explained, or it might be that the SCCM needs some additional support, the operator is best placed to offer this support if it is required which is why with any safety concerns it is particularly important to report your concerns internally. Trends are one aspect of reports that are monitored and CHIRP is aware of one operator who recently revised a SOP as a result of safety reporting by crew.

CHIRP are unable to investigate reports without a reporters permission, often when a reporter hasn’t reported their concerns internally they don’t want CHIRP to contact their operator either so CHIRP are in a position where they can’t investigate and/or resolve a reported safety concern.

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