How Much Does It Cost Not to Have a Safety Management System?

ORLANDO, FL, October 6, 2008 – By now, nearly everyone in the aviation industry has heard about the safety benefits that accrue to business aircraft operators who embrace the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), the set of safety and professional best practices developed over the past six years by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and its member associations, including NBAA.

However, some may not have considered the business case for adopting the "gold standard" of business aviation safety management systems (SMS). An informational session, being held today from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon in room S320EF, will shed some light on the price paid by operators who did not have an SMS and experienced an accident.

The direct losses of an aircraft accident include physical damage to the airplane, associated property damage, personal injury and loss of life, and potentially expensive legal claims. Indirect losses include loss of business; damage to reputation and loss of good will; loss of key personnel; increased insurance premiums and potential future insurability; loss of productivity; punitive damages, fines and regulatory action; and the cost of replacement equipment or supplemental lift.

Led by IBAC’s Kathy Perfetti and Brint Smith of Marsh Aviation, the IS-BAO briefing will explain the tangible and intangible benefits of this SMS-based program to all types of operators, regardless of the size or scope of their flight operations. For those already convinced of the value of IS-BAO but who have not pursued registration yet, this session will offer tips on how to advocate internally for IS-BAO.

(A companion session to be held on Tuesday, October 7 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in room 320EF, will detail the process of getting your organization started in, and progressing through the process of, developing uniform practical procedures that are relevant to achieving the highest levels of operational safety.)

To date, 127 operators worldwide have achieved IS-BAO registration. More will certainly join the program now that the new ICAO Annex 6 Part II requirements will require business operators flying internationally to meet the standard by November 18, 2010. Finally, IBAC announced at NBAA2008 that the Association and its national affiliates have developed an SMS toolkit that will be included in the January 1, 2009 amendment to IS-BAO.

But if those reasons are not convincing enough, consider the sobering conclusion of a recent study of 297 business jet and turboprop accidents that occurred between 1998 and 2003: IS-BAO might have prevented 35 to 55 percent of those mishaps.

For more information on IS-BAO, visit