August 8, 2018
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recently reaffirmed the use of International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) accreditation as one method of demonstrating a safety management system (SMS).
Since 2016, EASA has required commercial aircraft operators from outside of European Union territories to demonstrate compliance with certain regulatory and safety standards by applying for a third-country operator (TCO) authorization. One of those standards is the implementation of an SMS.
EASA confirmed its position in a letter to International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) IS-BAO Program Director Bennet Walsh.
“EASA’s position in this letter is nothing new,” said Walsh. “The letter simply clarifies EASA’s position, which is that voluntary IS-BAO accreditation is one appropriate means of demonstrating SMS implementation.”
Walsh explained there was some confusion in the U.S. as to what type of SMS program would be considered by EASA for TCO authorization. No state-approved or -accepted SMS exists for business aircraft operators including commercial operations under Part 135, which are subject to the TCO authorization requirement.
“EASA will review any SMS program as part of their risk assessment while processing TCO authorizations, but the operator has to have to have real, functioning SMS, whether it’s IS-BAO or another program,” said Walsh. “Manuals on a shelf probably won’t cut it.”
EASA reserves the right to ask for evidence of SMS implementation. If asked for proof of implementation, Walsh recommends providing EASA with enough information to determine your SMS is a fully functioning program, which might include minutes from safety committee meetings, examples of closed hazard reports, and more.
In fact, EASA Air Operators Oversight Section Manager of the Flight Standards Directorate Sascha Oliver Schott’s letter to IBAC states, “It is not the documented SMS procedures that are in the focus of EASA’s compliance assessment rather than proof of their actual implementation.”
“IBAC is in partnership with both the FAA and EASA in reducing risks in business aviation,” said Walsh. “The recent letter from EASA is just one more example of IBAC’s successful relationship with EASA.”
IS-BAO is an ICAO-based recommended code of industry best practices developed by the non-profit organization IBAC and voluntarily adopted by participating business aircraft operators.