NBAA: Key Provisions in FAA’s New SMS Rule Reflect Association Priorities

Washington, DC, April 23, 2024 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today commended Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials for reflecting NBAA feedback in key provisions included in the agency’s new final rule on Safety Management Systems (SMS).

“The business aviation community has always considered safety to be a core value, and has led the way in the voluntary adoption of SMS and other best practices,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “This final rule largely reflects comments from NBAA and hundreds of others who have noted that for an SMS to be effective, it must be tailored to the size and complexity of each operation.”

The new rule requires all Part 135 operators, certain Part 21 certificate holders and §91.147 air tour operators to implement an SMS, essentially expanding existing Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 5 SMS requirements to these parties, and adding some new mandates to Part 5.

In response to specific input from NBAA, the rule ensures scalability for the smallest operators, eschews unduly burdensome Part 5 mandates for single-pilot operations and provides a more reasonable timeline for implementation of SMS requirements, from 24 to 36 months.

That said, NBAA noted that in formulating the new rule, the FAA did not implement the association’s recommendation to utilize industry standards, such as the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO).

“While the FAA’s new rule appears appropriate in broad brushstrokes, the key going forward will be for the agency and industry to work in collaboration to ensure that rule’s real-world implementation is smooth, scalable and squarely focused on measures that demonstrably enhance safety,” Bolen said. “We look forward to working with the agency as a partner on this shared goal.”

The publication of the final rule marks the latest development in NBAA’s long-running involvement with the FAA and its planned expansion of SMS requirements. The association alerted industry when then-FAA Administrator Steve Dickson indicated FAA’s intent to pursue SMS rules for additional aircraft operations in 2021. As expected, in early 2023, the agency followed up on its plan, issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the SMS, accompanied by a comment period that was extended to April of last year.

In response to the NPRM, NBAA activated the association’s Online Grassroots Action Center for the industry to understand the proposal’s details and submit comments to the public record to register concerns. In all, the FAA received nearly 200 comments from the association and industry by the close of the comment period on April 11, 2023.

The rule, made available as an advance copy on April 22, will be formally published on April 26, and is expected to take effect on May 26, 2024. The rule will apply to nearly 1,850 Part 135 operators, and more than 700 air-tour providers. NBAA is preparing additional resources for compliance with the new SMS, expected to be issued in the coming days.

# # #

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The association represents more than 10,000 company and professional members and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at