IBAC releases the 2016 edition of IS-BAO: what changed?

5 February 2016

As usual in January, IBAC updates its International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations. This annual process follows the traditional IS-BAO Standards Board Meeting at NBAA where decisions regarding what must be added, removed or amended are taken.  Now in its 14th revision, IS-BAO has become the global standard for business aircraft operators. So, what changed? Fundamentally not much, except for two items:

  • ERP: the biggest change this year! Basically all the IS-BAO requirements dealing with Emergency Response Planning in chapter 11 were transferred to the Implementation Guide. These requirements remain a solid reference to assess the soundness and appropriateness of a business aviation operator’s ERP, but are “downgraded” to the status of (non-mandatory) guidance material. As far as the SMS is concerned, IS-BAO chapter 3 now simply requires that operators ensure that their ERP is properly coordinated with the ERP of those organisations they must interface with during the provision of their services. This may be in line with ICAO Annex 19 (SMS), but it opens the door to all kinds of interpretations in business aviation. How many operators go so often to the same location(s) that it makes sense to coordinate their ERP with the airport(s), FBO/BAHA(s), etc. concerned? Some do have regular flight patterns, most don’t. Experience from the field also teaches us that the aircraft operators -and even the FBO/BAHAs- who do try to coordinate their ERP with “the organisations they interface with” the most frequently rarely get answers, and almost never get a copy of those organisations’ ERP (possibly because there isn’t one in the first place?).
  • Maintenance control system: the second biggest change and the end of the preferential treatment for the EU organisations commonly known as Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisations (CAMO). Operators contracting maintenance control will need to pay closer attention to what their contractor does, even if it’s been certified by a national aviation authority. Under the revised IS-BAO 9.1.2 standard, operators now have to provide proper oversight of the CAMO(s) they use. CAMOs are also expected to ensure that the maintenance organisations used provide services in line with the standards and recommended practices of IS-BAO chapter 9. In other words, the operators must now audit the CAMOs which in turn must audit the Part-145 organisations to ensure the quality of the maintenance performed on the aircraft. Should there be any gaps at any level, the operator must include them in its SMS.
  • Fatigue Management: only a cosmetic change. FRMS used to be scattered between several chapters. Not anymore: everything has been consolidated into IS-BAO chapter 11 which, in effect, replaces the ERP requirements.
  • SMS: it may seem obvious but a bit of clarity never hurt. An Accountable Manager/Executive is ultimately accountable for the safety performance of its company (SMS included, obviously) but it is the responsibility of the Safety Manager and of the other managers to ensure that the SMS is functioning on a daily basis.
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP): as a response to the NTSB’s recommendation (ID: ERA14MA271) and since procedural non-compliance is a recurring theme in all kinds of occurrence reports,  emphasis has been put on checklist usage. Operators must ensure that their flight crews perform the applicable checklists, and comply with best practices on the subject, including the use of the challenge-verification-response format whenever possible. Delegating this task to the training provider(s) is not sufficient, operators must ensure that their pilots use the checklist in daily operations (IS-BAO 6.12).
  • Protection of recordings: a slightly more explicit requirement than previously. Operators must ensure that they have appropriate procedures to protect the data contained in the black boxes (FDR, CVR, DFDR, CVFDR, etc.) against inappropriate use (IS-BAO 8.5.3).
  • Electronic Flight Bags: EFBs get in the spotlight with several new requirements (IS-BAO 8.7).
  • Noise abattement: clarification was provided regarding noise during ground operations (IS-BAO 12.1).

Initial registration and renewal audits conducted until the end of June can be performed according to either the 2015 or the 2016 edition, at the operator’s discretion. After the 1st of July the 2016 edition has to be used.