Volume 10 AIR TRANSPORTATION OVERSIGHT SYSTEM
CHAPTER 1 GENERAL
Section 1 Air Transportation Oversight System Doctrine
10-1 PURPOSE. This section explains the underlying policy, concepts,
and principles for the Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS).
10-2 STATUTORY AUTHORITY. Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.) and
Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) provide the statutory and
regulatory authority for ATOS, respectively. Title 49 U.S.C. is broad in scope
and contains the codified provisions of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, which
prescribes the powers and authorities of the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA). Title 14 CFR is prescriptive in nature and contains the specific requirements
to obtain an air carrier operating certificate and standards for conducting
related operations. ATOS is not a separate safety standard and does not impose
additional requirements on air carriers. ATOS imposes only requirements that
are either explicit or implicit in the statute or the regulations. ATOS provides
FAA aviation safety inspectors (ASI) with standardized protocols to evaluate
air carrier programs required by regulations to be approved or accepted by the
Administrator. The following requirements in 49 U.S.C., Chapter 447, Safety
Regulation, are particularly pertinent to ATOS.
A. Title 49 U.S.C. § 44702, Issuance of Certificates. “When issuing
a certificate under this chapter, the Administrator shall consider the duty of an air carrier to provide
service with the highest possible degree of safety in the public interest….”
B. Title 49 U.S.C. § 44705, Air Carrier Operating Certificates.
“The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall issue an air
carrier operating certificate to a person desiring to operate as an air carrier
when the Administrator finds, after investigation, that the person properly
and adequately is equipped and able to operate safely under this part and regulations
and standards prescribed under this part.”
10-3 POLICY STATEMENT OF THE FAA AS IT PERTAINS TO PROMOTING AVIATION
SAFETY FOR AIR CARRIERS. ATOS is based on the explicit policy of the FAA,
which states: “The FAA will pursue a regulatory policy, which recognizes the
obligation of the air carrier to maintain the highest possible degree of safety.”
ATOS implements FAA policy by providing safety controls (i.e., regulations and
their application) of business organizations and individuals that fall under
FAA regulations. Under ATOS, the FAA’s primary responsibilities are: (1) to
verify that an air carrier is capable of operating safely and complies with
the regulations and standards prescribed by the Administrator before issuing
an air carrier operating certificate and before approving or accepting air carrier
programs; (2) to reverify that an air carrier continues to meet regulatory requirements
when environmental changes occur by conducting periodic reviews; and (3) to
continually validate the performance of an air carrier’s approved and accepted
programs for the purpose of continued operational safety.
10-4 ATOS CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES. ATOS relies on the following concepts and principles.
A. Definitions of Safety and Risk. Safety is the state in which the risk
of harm to people or property damage is reduced to, and maintained at or below,
an acceptable level through a continuing process of hazard identification and
risk management (RM). In this context, an air carrier’s duty to provide service
with the highest degree of safety in the public interest means that the air
carrier must identify hazards in its operating environment and manage associated
risks. Similarly, an air carrier’s ability to manage risk is an important part
of the FAA’s determination to ensure that the air carrier is equipped to operate
safely under 49 U.S.C., and the regulations and standards prescribed by 49 U.S.C.
B. System Safety. The goal of system safety is to optimize safety
by the identification of risk and then eliminating or controlling that risk.
This controlling or eliminating risk will be completed by design and/or procedures
which are based on acceptable system safety principals. Properly designed systems
control hazards by eliminating or mitigating associated risks before they result
in accidents or incidents. In an operational context, air carriers fulfill their
duties to provide service with the highest degree of safety in the public interest
by designing their operating systems to manage hazard related risks in their
operating environments. These concepts are fundamental to ATOS.
C. Safety Attributes. The key to safety lies in managing the
quality of safety critical processes. This is a primary responsibility of an
air carrier in meeting its regulatory obligations. ATOS employs six safety attributes
to evaluate the design of air carrier operating systems:
1) Procedures. Documented methods to accomplish a process.
2) Controls. Checks and restraints designed into a process to ensure a desired result.
3) Process Measures. Used to validate a process and identify
problems or potential problems in order to correct them.
4) Interfaces. Determine if the air carrier identifies and manages the interactions
between the process and the other related element processes within the air carrier organization.
5) Responsibility. A clearly identifiable, qualified, and knowledgeable
individual who is accountable for the quality of a process.
6) Authority. A clearly identifiable, qualified, and knowledgeable
individual who has the authority to set up and change a process.
NOTE: The attributes are not standards in and of themselves, but provide
a structure for the tools used to collect data for principal inspectors (PI)
so that they can make informed judgments about the design of an air carrier’s
operating systems (1) before approving or accepting them when required to do
so by the regulations, and (2) during recurring assessments for continued operational safety.
D. Focus on an Air Carrier’s Organization and Processes. In addition
to issuing certificates, monitoring compliance, investigating noncompliance,
and administering sanctions for noncompliance, FAA oversight must also focus
on an air carrier’s organization and process management. Outputs and outcomes
are still monitored, but the emphasis is on maintaining a safe process or correcting
deficiencies. Performance Assessments (PA) must supply objective evidence of
both the adequacy and inadequacy of processes.
E. Open System Perspective. A successful, open system adapts
to the needs of the environment and its resources. Safe operation in the modern
aviation environment requires constant adaptation. Air carriers are obligated
to provide systems that defend against the hazards of their operating environments,
including adapting to changes in the environment. Data Collection Tools (DCT)
should provide information on current environmental risks and on the air carrier’s
efforts to control them.
F. Data Sharing. The FAA is responsible for reaching an independent assessment
of an air carrier’s qualification to hold an operating certificate and its continuing
ability to comply with regulations and standards. The FAA may accomplish its independent
assessments using data provided by an air carrier or a third party, provided a qualified
FAA ASI validates all of the data. Data sharing and open communication optimize the
function of the oversight system and leverage resources to advance safety.
G. Primary Stakeholder and Beneficiary. The U.S. public is the
primary stakeholder in and beneficiary of ATOS. The FAA carries out its safety
mission with due regard to its accountability to the public. The high level
of safety required by statute is in the interest of the public. FAA employees
involved in ATOS are responsible to determine on behalf of the public that air
carriers can provide service with the highest possible degree of safety.
H. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Requests for records made
under FOIA are processed in accordance with the FAA, the Department of Transportation
(DOT), and government-wide directives and guidance. The current edition of FAA Order
of Information Act Program, provides guidance that governs
processing requests for FAA records under FOIA.
RESERVED. Paragraphs 10-5 through 10-19.