The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) is hoping to build further participation in the International Standard for Business Aviation Operators (IS-BAO) and International Standard for Business Aircraft Handler (IS-BAH) programs throughout the Latin American region, especially among smaller entities.
The voluntary IS-BAO and IS-BAH programs for operators and handlers demonstrate compliance with industry best practices with safety management as a base.
“Overall, the programs help operators and handlers minimize hazards and reduce the likelihood of accidents and incidents. It is reasonable to think that implementing IS-BAO shows a commitment to safety and excellence,” said Kurt Edwards, the director general of IBAC (Booth 1014). “Almost all operators are already doing 90 percent of what any IS-BAO operator is doing. They just haven’t documented their processes.”
He acknowledged that documentation could seem daunting to some, but said, “It should not be viewed that way at all.”
Several of the largest commercial operators and flight departments in Brazil are registered, as are large operators in other parts of the region. IBAC, however, believes that large and small operators alike could benefit.
“This is a performance-based program that can be scaled to any type of operation,” Edwards said. “There are more small aircraft and helicopters operating in Brazil and throughout Latin America that could benefit from the structure, SMS, and just culture aspects of IS-BAO implementation.”
More Opportunities for Participation
IBAC sees significant potential growth for the programs in Brazil, as well as Mexico, as strengthening economies boost the business aviation communities there. “As economies in these states fluctuate, like anywhere, the activity in business aviation typically follows,” he said. “The more aircraft based in an area obviously presents more opportunities for operators to participate in our safety-standard programs—for both operators and ground handlers.”
IBAC has seen a strong business aviation growth pattern in Mexico in particular, he said. “Brazil is still in an economic recovery, but we are noticing slight improvements. Company mergers and closings of flight departments over the last few years have affected the region, but we are optimistic about business aviation growth in Brazil,” Edwards added.
He further pointed to the large number of operators serving the VIP transport and offshore oil markets. IBAC has been working closely with Helicopter Association International (HAI) and the International Helicopter Safety Team on IS-BAO. “We developed a rotary-wing-compatible program in 2012 that continues to thrive,” Edwards added.
But IBAC also is working to raise awareness throughout the region, he said, noting most recently officials from the organization met with directors general of Central America and the Caribbean to introduce them to IS-BAO and IS-BAH. And they plan to further engage with industry and authorities in other key Latin American countries, he said.
“Sharing the benefits and the value of these comprehensive, industry-developed, and voluntary safety standards is important and part of what we are talking to LABACE visitors about,” Edwards added.
He noted that LABACE organizer Brazilian Association for General Aviation (ABAG) is one of IBAC’s largest members and said, “We always enjoy supporting them at the show and engaging with ABAG’s members.” This is particularly important as IBAC works with its member organizations to foster standards throughout the industry. “IBAC works with business aviation associations, like ABAG, to ensure global aviation standards developed at ICAO reflect business aviation's needs and are implemented around the world to foster safe and appropriately regulated environment.”
These kinds of efforts are critical as many states do not apply appropriate safety regulations to business aircraft operators, he said. “There tends to be greater familiarity with scheduled commercial air transport, and implementation of important ICAO Standards for our sector, for example, ICAO Annex 6 Part II [International General Aviation], is often lacking.”
While business aviation is strong in Brazil, Edwards sees a need for more education there, particularly on operational safety and legal charter requirements. He noted ABAG is engaged on both of those fronts. The organization also is working with industry and authorities in Mexico to increase an appreciation of business aviation.
Also at LABACE, IBAC will promote industry efforts on Sustainable Aviation Fuels. “This is a critical technology that will allow the industry to meet its aspirational goal of halving its carbon emissions relative to 2005 levels by 2050,” he said.