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How to Make the Business Case for IS-BAO

While many NBAA Members are familiar with the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), questions often arise about the specific benefits that can be achieved through implementation of the program.

This question is often presented to NBAA’s Operations Service Group (OSG), and an Information Session on the business case for IS-BAO held at NBAA’s 61st Annual Meeting & Convention (NBAA2008) answered it.

As most Members know, IS-BAO is a set of safety and professional best practices developed by operators from the member organizations of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), including NBAA.

The core of IS-BAO is a safety management system (SMS) that covers all aspects of flight operations. IS-BAO is scalable, meaning that it can be implemented by single-aircraft flight departments or larger multi-aircraft operations, with processes matching the size of the operation.

Operators that implement the IS-BAO standard are encouraged to complete the “registration” (certification) process, which requires an independent audit by an IBAC-accredited external auditor. Some 127 operators worldwide have achieved IS-BAO registration, with many more pending.

During the IS-BAO Information Session at NBAA2008, Brint Smith of Marsh Aviation and Kathy Perfetti, IBAC’s standards manager, provided specific examples of benefits that can be achieved though IS-BAO registration.

In a recent study of 297 business aircraft accidents that occurred from 1998–2003, it was determined that IS-BAO implementation likely could have prevented 35 to 55 percent of those mishaps. The study also found that addressing certain human factors and management issues that IS-BAO could have identified might well have prevented a high percentage of the accidents. IS-BAO’s tools for proactive analysis and management of risks are important SMS components that can be used to prevent similar accidents.


“ Flight department managers from several NBAA Members have confirmed that registration provides peace of mind for their management and passengers. ”

IS-BAO registration also will likely raise the confidence of passengers in the safety of the flight operation by confirming that operations are being conducted to the highest industry standards. Flight department managers from several NBAA Members have confirmed that registration provides peace of mind for their management and passengers.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recently took action to require SMS implementation for operators conducting international flights. The revised Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) found in ICAO’s Annex 6, Part 2 (similar to FAR Part 91) specify that an SMS requirement be incorporated into national safety regulations for operators of turbojet-powered aircraft and non-commercial aircraft over 12,500 pounds maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) by November 2010. Annex 6 Part 1 of the ICAO SARPS also provides a January 1, 2009 compliance date for implementation of an SMS for commercial operators. IBAC is developing an SMS tool kit that may be used independently of full IS-BAO implementation to assist both commercial and non-commercial operators in complying with the ICAO SARPS.

NBAA’s Operations Service Group (OSG) is a free Member benefit for businesses needing quick, authoritative information about flying or managing aircraft. OSG staff members are available to answer Member questions at (202) 783-9250 or [email protected].