U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
Effective Date: 8/30/10
Cancellation Date: 8/30/11
SUBJ: Safety Management Systems
1. Purpose of This Notice.
This notice provides guidance for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Flight Standards Service (AFS) personnel on the status of, commitment to, and
current direction of the AFS Safety Management System (SMS).
2. Audience. The primary audience for this notice is FAA AFS
personnel in the divisions and branches at headquarters, and personnel in the
regions. This notice will affect offices that have direct responsibilities for
developing policies and practices related to the oversight of the aviation industry.
3. Where You Can Find This Notice. You can find this notice on
the MyFAA Web site at
https://employees.faa.gov/tools_resources/orders_notices/. Inspectors can
access this notice through the Flight Standards Information Management System
(FSIMS) at http://fsims.avs.faa.gov. Operators and the public may find this
information at: http://fsims.faa.gov.
4. Background. The International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) Annex 6, Part 1 titled, International Commercial Air Transport—Aeroplanes,
required that by January 1, 2009 “States shall require, as part of their safety
programme, that an operator implement a safety management system acceptable
to the State of the Operator.”
a. Specific SMS Requirements. ICAO’s, Annex 6, Amendment 33,
requires “…from November 18, 2010…that an operator implement [and maintain]
a safety management system…[in accordance with the ICAO SMS] Framework contained
in appendix 7.” This requirement adds SMS specifics to the January 2009 requirement
in the form of four components and 12 elements. FAA SMS guidance material was
revised to incorporate these changes. Interim information is located at: http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/sms/.
b. FAA Response to ICAO SMS Requirements. The FAA filed a “difference”
with ICAO detailing that it is not currently in full compliance with the ICAO
requirement, but is considering SMS rulemaking. The FAA’s difference was neither
a deviation nor an exemption, but a notification to ICAO member states of the
inability to meet the January 1, 2009 deadline. In our statement of difference,
we explained that our rulemaking process requires thorough analysis and stakeholder
input and therefore requires more time to complete regulatory action.
(1) After considering
a nation’s difference, ICAO member states decide whether to honor a difference
on the part of an international operator who enters and operates within their
airspace. The AFS SMS Program Office is working with numerous foreign aviation
agencies—both individually and as part of the Safety Management International
Collaboration Group—to mitigate instances where carriers are denied entry or
operation in a foreign state’s airspace.
(2) The FAA was assured
that, currently, Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA),
or any of their member States, do not intend to restrict operations within their
airspace due to noncompliance with ICAO SMS requirements. In paragraph 5b, this
notice discusses denial of entry due to lack of a flight data analysis program,
(i.e., FAA flight operational quality assurance (FOQA)).
c. No Formal SMS Rule. The FAA does not have a formal SMS rule;
however, many aviation service providers are joining the FAA’s SMS Pilot Project,
or electing to voluntarily implement an SMS within their organization. With
a growing number of aviation service providers in various levels of the pilot
project, there have been questions regarding the approval or acceptance of SMS
documentation and questions about operations within ICAO member states’ airspace.
Note: AFS does not have
an authorized procedure for approving or accepting a service provider’s SMS;
however, participants in the pilot project receive a letter of acknowledgement
from the AFS director for their voluntary development of an SMS.
a. Approving/Accepting Manuals. Principal inspectors (PI) have
raised concerns about approving or accepting manuals that have references to
an aviation service provider’s SMS. The FAA has no procedures to approve an
aviation service provider’s SMS. FAA oversight organizations (certificate management
teams, Flight Standards District Offices, etc.) and the AFS SMS Program Office
are not authorized to approve or accept SMS programs.
(1) There are two types
of manuals PIs may have to review:
Company SMS Manuals. Do not formally accept or approve company SMS manuals;
with regard to the FAA, they are for information only.
(b) General Company Manuals
(General Operations Manual, General Maintenance Manual, etc.). References to
the aviation service provider’s internal SMS may be included within the policies,
processes, and procedures detailed in company manuals. If an operator desires
to include SMS material or content into its accepted or approved company manuals,
the SMS Program Office recommends the following clarifying statement be placed
in either the signature stamp, and/or approval/acceptance letters. The SMS Program
Office requests the service provider put the statement on the front cover of
the subject manual:
“[Approval/Acceptance] of this [manual/document/procedure]
does not constitute approval or acceptance of any part, process, element or
component of [the organization’s] SMS.”
(2) Modify the above verbiage
to account for approval or acceptance and the type of document under review.
It may be necessary to edit previous approvals or acceptances to include this
statement. The above language is a means of acknowledging the inclusion of an
operator’s SMS policy, processes, and procedures within the manual under review,
while clarifying that approval/acceptance of the manual does not constitute
approval/acceptance of the SMS components or elements.
b. Denied Entry Into Foreign Airspace. Another concern both FAA
inspectors and service providers have is based upon reports of air carriers
being denied entry into various international airports and/or airspace due to
the lack of an approved SMS. Analysis of the incidents revealed that the concern
was not due to lack of an SMS, but rather the lack of a flight data analysis
program, or, as it is called in the United States, a FOQA program.
(1) A flight data analysis
program has been an ICAO requirement since 2005. The FAA has maintained the
FOQA program as a voluntary program and manages it with Advisory Circular
(AC) 120-82, Flight Operational Quality Assurance Voluntary Safety Program,
(2) While this requirement
for a flight data analysis program has not been enforced previously by ICAO
member nations, we have recently been made aware of at least four instances
where the lack of a flight data analysis program has resulted in denial of airspace
(3) The issues primarily
involved larger turbojet aircraft such as Gulfstreams, Falcons and Challengers,
etc. and revolve around ICAO Annex 6, Part 1, International Commercial Air Transport—Aeroplanes,
Amendment 33, which states:
“An operator of an aeroplane of
a certificated take-off mass in excess of 20,000 kg (44,093 lb) should establish
and maintain a flight data analysis program as part of its safety management
system.” (This is a recommendation in Chapter 3, Item 3.3.6.)
“An operator of an aeroplane of
a maximum certificated take-off mass in excess of 27,000 kg (59,525 lb) shall
establish and maintain a flight data analysis program as part of its safety
management system.” (This is a requirement in Chapter 3, Item 3.3.7.)
(4) The maximum certified
takeoff weight is the qualifier for flight data analysis program requirements.
Service providers should query any findings by a foreign agency inspector, with
respect to the lack of flight data analysis equipment or program, to ascertain
the specifics based upon their maximum certified takeoff weight.
6. Disposition. We will permanently incorporate the information
in this notice in FSIMS before this notice expires. Direct questions concerning
this notice to the AFS SMS Program Office Manager, Dr. Don Arendt, at 703-661-0516.
ORIGINAL SIGNED BY
John W. McGraw for
John M. Allen,
Director, Flight Standards Service