May 20, 2020

With the global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) has adjusted its audit programs. IBAC now allows complete virtual audits and extensions where appropriate for the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operators (IS-BAO) and International Standard for Business Aircraft Handlers (IS-BAH).

Bennet Walsh, director of the IS-BAO program explained, “The audit program team is used to a dynamic playing field in business aviation. COVID-19 is just the latest threat to operators.”

Existing policies allowed for extensions or other considerations during significant company change, hurricanes or other circumstances.

The COVID pandemic is like a hurricane, Walsh explained, but affecting all accredited organizations, worldwide – so in March, the IBAC team developed policies to allow for remote auditing. IBAC continues to modify these policies based on lessons learned.

“These are the operators’ programs, so we knew we needed to respond [to the pandemic] quickly with an effective solution,” said Walsh, adding IBAC has revised remote auditing policies over the past several weeks. “Continuous improvement applies to IBAC as well.”

IBAC also launched online auditor and operator workshops to ensure safety professionals new to IS-BAO or IS-BAH can learn about the program and auditors can renew their accreditations.

Operators involved in the IS-BAO’s new progressive Stage 3 program are working on a new resource for the industry – guidance on developing a change management plan for business aircraft operators returning to “normal” operations following the pandemic.

Walsh expressed his appreciation for these operators, saying, “IS-BAO operators go above and beyond to pursue excellence.”

The organization will collaborate with other industry groups, bring in the latest ICAO guidance from the ICAO Liaison and share this guidance on future operations in the coming weeks.