International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO)

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Changes and Recommendations Coming for IS-BAO Program in 2014

Nov. 18, 2013

This is the first of a two-part story highlighting many of the upcoming changes to the IS-BAO Program for the coming year.

Listen to Part 1 of the NBAA Flight Plan podcast on IS-BAO.

As 2014 begins, new standards and recommendations will be reflected in the voluntary International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) program, The changes were recently adopted by the Standards Review Board (SRB) for the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC ), which administers the IS-BAO program.

IS-BAO is a recommended code of best practices designed to help flight departments worldwide achieve high levels of safety and professionalism.

Wary of “standards creep” (the spread of new standards without regard to the number already on the books), the SRB has trimmed some program standards deemed duplicative. Of the 120 new standards and recommendations proposed for 2014, only a handful has actually been passed into policy by the SRB, according to IBAC Audit Manager John Sheehan.

“This was a relatively light year in terms of standards submissions,” Sheehan said of the 120 proposals submitted.

One notable addition to the IS-BAO program for 2014 is a recommendation that all members of a business aviation flight department be considered for participation in a fatigue-management program.

“We started out with just the pilots,” Sheehan said. “Then, we expanded it to the mechanics. Now we’re saying everybody should be covered by a fatigue-management system.”

A second major issue addressed in the updated 2014 standards and recommendations is the pre-flight loading of oxygen.

“We had some fairly complicated standards that came directly from ICAO [the International Civil Aviation Organization],” Sheehan noted. “These were quite prescriptive. But we don’t particularly like prescriptive standards. We like goal-oriented standards. So we set the target to say: before you go fly, you should make sure you have an adequate amount of oxygen for the parameters of the flight. We’re trying to go more and more toward performance-oriented standards.”

Each proposed standard or recommendation is first reviewed by IBAC staff before it is forwarded to the Standards Review Board. Consisting of 14 flight department managers from around the world, the SRB debates each proposal before deciding which of them will be incorporated in the IS-BAO program.

Some suggestions come from IS-BAO auditors like Sheehan. Others come from IS-BAO registrants. Still more come from companies applying for IS-BAO registration and from ICAO, the arm of the United Nations responsible for setting aviation standards worldwide.

“We try to keep standards creep to a minimum, but must respond to ICAO standards as they apply to IS-BAO registrants – we sit on a number of ICAO committees that consider new standards and recommended practices,” IBAC officials said in the organization’s November/December 2013 newsletter. “The same is true of best operating practices, which we carefully evaluate prior to imposing them as additional standards, preferring to list many of these as recommended practices until their utility and general acceptance has been proven.

“It also appears that a number of SMS [safety management system] schemes provided by consultants may add to complexity as well,” the officials said.