May 21, 2014

A new business aviation ground-handling standard was unveiled at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition this week, which is modeled on the successful International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) program.

“The IS-BAO program was developed more than 12 years ago and has matured significantly over that period of time,” said Jim Cannon, IBAC’s IS-BAO program director. “We used the IS-BAO platform as the basis for IS-BAH, which will help institute best practices for fixed-based operators and ground handling organizations at airports around the world.”

IS-BAH will be familiar to those already participating in the IS-BAO program. The IS-BAH safety management system (SMS) structure, including SMS certification, is identical to IS-BAO, though other components address the operational environment of FBOs and ground handling facilities. IBAC will also provide an implementation guide and other guidance materials for IS-BAH, just as it has for IS-BAO.

IBAC will work with the National Air Transportation Association to establish a standards board of industry experts to assess and revise the standard annually, in a manner consistent with IS-BAO revision procedures, and a review board will approve all audit reports.

The SMS certification is particularly significant to business aircraft operators as International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) SMS requirements become more prevalent in business aviation, including the ground-handling aspect of operations.

“The IS-BAH program will help ensure registered ground handling organizations are conducting their operations under a set of standardized best practices,” said Cannon. “It will also help business aircraft operators using those facilities verify that the organization has incorporated SMS processes.”

IS-BAH is the result of more than two years of development first suggested by the European Business Aviation Association. IBAC anticipates publishing the IS-BAH and related guidance materials by July 1, at which time auditors will begin being trained and credentialed through IBAC workshops. Auditor qualifications, credentialing and currency requirements will be similar to the IS-BAO program, although IS-BAH auditors will be required to have at least five years of experience with ground handling organizations in lieu of flight operations or aircraft maintenance experience.

Read the full IBAC press release announcing the new program.