NEWS Alert

FAA Broadens Safety Management System Requirement

Effective May 28, 2024, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will now require certain additional operators and certificate holders to develop and implement a Safety Management System (SMS). Currently, only commercial airlines operating under Part 121 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) and some manufacturers are required to do so. The new Final Rule will extend the requirement to FAR Part 119 certificate holders operating under FAR Part 135, Letter of Authorization (LOA) holders operating commercial air tours under § 91.147, and certain additional manufacturers holding FAR Part 21 certificates.

The FAA is publishing the rule both in response to a Congressional mandate as well as recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The FAA’s goal is to increase aviation safety by requiring operators to undertake a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to safety management. Moreover, the move brings the U.S. into closer compliance with standards promulgated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which per Annex 19 requires SMS for the management of safety risk in air operations, maintenance, air traffic services, aerodromes, and more recently in-flight training as well as design and production of aircraft.

According to the FAA, Safety Management Systems are a “formal, top-down, organization-wide approach to managing safety risk and assuring the effectiveness of safety risk controls” and include “systematic procedures, practices, and policies for the management of safety risk”. The FAA emphasized that the requirements of the new rule are limited to those activities that “directly affect aviation safety”.

Established in 1999 and based in Washington, DC, TWG has a lengthy record of providing technical assistance to civil aviation authorities (CAAs) worldwide, including but not limited to the CAAs of India, Panama, Cabo Verde, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Trinidad and Tobago. In all, ten FAA Category 1 ratings have been issued to TWG IASA technical assistance clients to date – a 100% track record. TWG also regularly advises a variety of regulated aviation companies, including assisting foreign air carriers with obtaining the US government approvals needed for US air carrier operations and foreign repair stations with securing FAA certification required to maintain US-registered aircraft.

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