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Foreign Object Debris (FOD)
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The big issue here is responsibility! for FOD clearance. Whilst it is reasonable to expect airport operators to have both reactive and proactive procedures (inspections) for FOD clearance, I note that at many airports, checking that an allocated gate is fit for use by an arriving aircraft is the responsibility of the airline representative overseeing the arrival (or the supervisory representative from their designated handling agent).
Checking the gate marked gate area for FOD goes along with ensuring that all parked equipment and vehicles (and the jetway!) are clear and that the surface is not contaminated with ice or any other substance likely to interfere with aircraft braking action. This responsibility is often linked to switching on the aircraft parking guidance system which is then taken by the flight crew to mean that the gate is fit for use. This is the theory but unfortunately, in my experience over many years, the productivity expected of gate supervisors and their desire not to delay aircraft arrivals often meant that a full gate inspection - and removal of any FOD - was not always done.--John.Milner 18:00, 16 January 2008 (CET)
Text altered to reflect this comment. --Ian.Wigmore 13:01, 6 February 2008 (CET)