Global Bizav Groups Launch Safety Tool Kit

 - February 27, 2009, 10:04 AM

Building on business aviation’s International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) introduced in 2002, business aviation groups from around the world have developed a Safety Management System Tool Kit (SMS TK) to help operators respond to global standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Peter Gatz, chairman of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), said that “given our long and positive experience with SMS over the past eight years we can now provide assistance to operators who have not yet introduced SMS into their operations.”

According to IBAC, the new tool kit  will be of immediate interest to commercial fixed-wing and rotary-wing operators, the first sectors to be affected by the new regulatory requirements.

Commercial on-demand charter operators facing new regulatory requirements will find that the kit provides a step-by-step program for implementing the new safety provision. Regulators such as the European Aviation Safety Agency have encouraged industry associations to develop guidance material for operators to help them meet the requirements of the regulation.

While business aviation associations continue to encourage operators to implement the “gold standard” IS-BAO program, the tool kit will provide the guidance for those operators who want to implement SMS only to satisfy regulations. For those with the IS-BAO program, the SMS TK will optimize the safety benefits.

Business aviation associations formed a group of safety specialists to develop the stand-alone SMS TK to be responsive to rule requirements of regulations around the world. “The tool kit provides operators with a common sense and systematic methodology,” said Gatz.

As a member of ICAO, the FAA is supposed to develop SMS guidelines for U.S. operators. Because it missed the Jan. 1, 2009 deadline, for having SMS requirements, the agency filed a “difference” with ICAO. Compliance with the ICAO standards depends on FAA action to define specific requirements.

The FAA has published Advisory Circular 120-92, “Introduction to Safety Management Systems for Air Operators,” which contains information for operators to develop SMS programs voluntarily. At present, there are no authorized provisions for FAA approval or acceptance of SMS programs, but the additional guidance and tools are being developed.