IS-BAO Newsletter – May 2013

The Numbers

We now have more than 700 IS-BAO registrants of which 200 have achieved Stage 2 and 90 Stage 3.

Larry Fletcher Now Responsible for Auditor Accreditation and Support Services

IS-BAO staff member Larry Fletcher is now in charge of qualification and accreditation of IS-BAO auditors in addition to qualifying and recognizing Support Services Affiliates. All communications regarding these tasks should be directed to either, or

(513) 706-9341.

An Elevator Speech for IS-BAO

A number of registrants and auditors have requested an elevator speech (a brief statement describing the IS-BAO program). The following comes from the IS-BAO Standard, section 1.3.2:

International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) requirements are designed to enable a registrant to progress from a strong foundation of conformance to Safety Management System (SMS) principles and compliance with international standards to a system that demonstrates goal-directed continuing performance. The program leads the operator from the establishment of beginning principles to a sustainable SMS and operations program. Audits conducted normally every two years ensure conformance and provide valuable feedback to the operation.

Audits concentrate on SMS development. For IS-BAO SMS evaluation purposes, the stages of maturity of an SMS are:

  • Stage One: Confirms that the SMS infrastructure is established and that safety management activities are appropriately targeted. All supporting standards have been established.
  • Stage Two: Ensures that safety management activities are appropriately targeted and that safety risks are being effectively managed.
  • Stage Three: Verifies that safety management activities are fully integrated into the operator’s business and that a positive safety culture is being maintained.

If you wish to go into the positive effects of the IS-BAO you may mention that the system provides:

  • A comprehensive aviation organizational and operational code of practice
  • The ability to measure and manage operational risk
  • Compliance assurance for essential international aviation standards
  • High quality policies, training program and procedures
  • A professional operating system for flight departments
  • A method of ensuring compliance with regulations and company standards
  • A central focus on operational excellence that facilitates team-building activity
  • A system with which to measure organizational performance

Of the current 700 worldwide IS-BAO registrants, 200 have achieved Stage 2 and 90 Stage 3. The program has been in existence since 2002.

Extensions to Registration Expiration Dates

If the IS-BAO system is working correctly, little or no preparation is needed for subsequent audits. That is, the upcoming audit looks at events occurring since the last audit, not at a future period. Yet, a surprising number of operators request extensions of their registration period of up to six months, stating that they “must get ready for the audit.” This type of request is routinely denied.

Legitimate requests for extensions due to conflicts arising from major changes within the department, heavy vacation or training schedules, loss of personnel or temporary increased flight demands are considered on their merits, usually resulting in an extension of not more than 30 to 45 days.

Opportunities to be Effective

Once the stage 1 audit has been completed the operator’s focus should be on SMS performance and effectiveness. The foundation for the program is in place and validated by the stage 1 audit, now it’s time for the operator to make good on the promises made in the SMS documentation that will achieve the goal of assuring risk is managed to the lowest possible level.

We get comments from operators and auditors that ensuring SMS performance is difficult due to lack of opportunity to exercise the program. However, consider the following list of opportunities to focus on risk over the two-year period between audits:

  • Evaluate 150-200 flight risk assessments (FRATs)
  • Conduct 10-15 safety meetings
  • Provide 4-10 safety/risk assessment training sessions
  • Process 10-40 hazard reports and mitigate the risk involved
  • Conduct 2-5 internal evaluations
  • Plan for 10-15 impending change events
  • Exercise the emergency response plan twice
  • Review and update the following 2-8 times:
    • Safety policy
    • Safety risk profile
    • SMS/Ops/Maint manuals
    • ERP
  • Frequently communicate the results of all the above to department personnel

Setting goals to ensure completion of these items will ensure an adequate and, perhaps, superior SMS.

IS-BAO Users Forum

The IS-BAO Users Forum is an electronic forum designed for the exchange of professional information among IS-BAO users. All those who have received a username and password for the website can access the forum by logging-on and then clicking the “Forum” link of the left side of the page. Please note the instructions as well as the terms and conditions of use.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions regarding IS-BAO please use this site to gain maximum visibility for your issues. If you have discrete questions or comments intended for an IS-BAO staff member, address the appropriate persons directly or through

Support Services Affiliate Listing

We now have more than 20 Support Services Affiliates listed in that section of the web site. These are companies that have complied with the provisions of IS-BAO Policy 2012-04 and are listed alphabetically in the page. Companies previously listed on this site that have not complied with the new policy were removed from the list on March 15, 2013. Specific areas of expertise relative to the IS-BAO program and SMS are also shown in the listing. Operators requesting assistance with implementing or maintaining either an IS-BAO program or SMS should find this site useful.


One of the main principles of IS-BAO is to identify the causes of substandard performance in your SMS and eliminate or mitigate them. Without this critical feedback mechanism hazard identification and mitigation become a whac-a-mole exercise in which you do not learn from events that may continue to be hazardous to your organization. The feedback from your safety risk management and assurance programs provide material to foster a continuous improvement for SMS and other organizational programs.

Also, consider another way to improve your program, that of benchmarking or comparing your operation with what similar IS-BAO operators have done to mitigate and control risk. Comparing processes and procedures with other operators may provide insights that lead to further improvements to your program. When considering changes to your programs based on other’s ensure the modifications are appropriate by using risk assessment techniques.

Bits and Pieces

  • When the 2013 IS-BAO protocols were initially released protocol items 6.19 and 6.20 were inadvertently omitted. If you downloaded the protocols after January 30 you already have the corrected protocols. If you downloaded prior to that date, download the two documents now to ensure that you have the corrected copy. You may download portions of the package individually, as well. This applies only to the protocols.
  • Operator Remedial Action Plans must include a target completion date and be submitted to the auditor within 30-days of receiving the audit report.

Enjoy the continuing benefits of IS-BAO,

John Sheehan

IBAC Audit Manager

Have you reviewed your flight department
risk profile within the last six months?