Safety measurement systems Transportation

FAA final rule mandates safety management systems for airlines

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Photo: SANSA Images

Washington – Most U.S. commercial airlines will be required to have safety management systems in place by 2018 as part of a final rule issued Jan. 7 by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Many airlines already have established programs to reduce risks, and the final rule builds upon those programs, FAA said.

The rule, which goes into effect on March 9, requires airlines to submit their SMS implementation plans within six months. One executive per airline will be accountable for overseeing the SMS, which must be implemented within three years.

FAA defined an SMS as a “formal, top-down, organization-wide approach to managing safety risk and assuring the effectiveness of safety risk controls.” The agency said it would offer federally funded software to help airlines implement the systems.

“Our commercial aviation industry is a world-leader and model for risk mitigation and I’m proud that so many airlines have embraced the SMS culture voluntarily,” FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta said in a press release. “Now the FAA and the air carrier industry are taking the next step.”