IS-BAH

The International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) was developed by the business aviation communities to foster ground safety. The purpose is to promote global standardization and to assist Fixed Based Operators (FBOs) and business aviation handling agents (BAHAs) in establishing quality operations using best practices. The IS-BAH Standard and its associated audit and registration programmes are managed by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), headquartered in Montreal, Canada.

The IS-BAH contains 13 sections covering the essentials of business aircraft handling operations (e.g., qualifications, training, facility management, etc.) and has safety management at its core. The focus of IS-BAH audits is not exclusively on conformance with the IS-BAH Standard. More importantly, IS-BAH accredited auditors also assess the level of maturity of the operator’s SMS. Three stages have been defined as follows:

  • Stage 1: the necessary SMS infrastructure is in place; past and planned safety management activities are appropriately targeted.
  • Stage 2: confirms that safety management activities are appropriately targeted, and that safety-risks are being effectively managed.
  • Stage 3: confirms that safety management activities are fully integrated into the operator’s business; and that a positive safety culture is being sustained.

IS-BAH certificates of registration are typically valid for 2 years. Operators achieving Stage 1 are required to pass a Stage 2 audit within 24 months. There’s no additional requirement to achieve Stage 3 but that’s a very remarkable achievement for operators who display exceptional safety performance.

What’s the difference between a complex and a non-complex FBO/BAHA?

Europe attempted to come up with a clear definition in the sectors that are already regulated, however it’s obviously an intricate subject. In EU aviation regulations the complexity of an organisation is a function of its:

  • Size: are there less or more than 20 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs)?
  • Complexity of the activity: for instance the number of operating sites, number and type of contractors; etc.; and/or
  • Risks: what’s the airport environment like? Are specialized operations conducted?

The final call ultimately resides with the National Aviation Authority of the operator.

Why make a distinction between FBO/BAHAs if it doesn’t exist in the IS-BAH Standard itself?

Every FBO/BAHA is different, and every audit is different, even at the same FBO/BAHA. However, as a courtesy to our visitors from around the world, we proactively answer your legitimate questions regarding the duration of an IS-BAH audit by providing estimates and a brief overview of the audit process based on the complexity of the operation to be audited, and on the level of SMS maturity that needs to be demonstrated. Please bear in mind that they only provide an indication of the duration of an audit.

 


Non-complex FBO/BAHAs

Initial audit

FBO/BAHAs in this category would typically have one base of operation or not more than two bases. Several secondary services (e.g., catering, fuel, cleaning) would usually be managed by third parties. Maintenance operations would typically be limited to the handling equipment used to provide the services (i.e., no aircraft maintenance) but there are exceptions.

Initial audits (a.k.a. registration audits) at non-complex FBO/BAHAs typically involve the interview of the entire staff since it’s usually a small, tight-knit and very busy team. Since each and every element of the IS-BAH audit protocol must be assessed at a Stage 1 audit, conducting the audit in a proper manner requires time (on an average 3±1 man-days) and subject matter expertise.

To reduce the duration of the on-site audit we generally perform it with a team of two auditors. Each one of them will focus on his/her own areas of expertise. Be assured that both of them will have pertinent experience in small and/or very small FBO/BAHAs, and be able to very quickly understand your unique risks, challenges and opportunities. Since IS-BAH is scalable and performance-based, the expectations differ depending on the size and complexity of the operations. We fully support this approach and perform our audits accordingly.

Contact us with your company details and receive a free quote for your IS-BAH audit.

 

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Non-complex FBO/BAHAs

Renewal audit

FBO/BAHAs in this category would typically have one base of operation or not more than two bases. Several secondary services (e.g., catering, fuel, cleaning) would usually be managed by third parties. Maintenance operations would typically be limited to the handling equipment used to provide the services (i.e., no aircraft maintenance) but there are exceptions.

Renewal audits at non-complex FBO/BAHAs typically involve the interview of the entire staff since the main focus of Stage 2 and Stage 3 audits is the Safety Management System (SMS). Is it functioning? Are results being measured? Are SMS activities appropriately targeted? Are safety risks being effectively managed? Since the functioning and performance of the SMS must be reviewed, conducting the audit in a proper manner requires time (on an average 3±1 man-days) and subject matter expertise.

To reduce the duration of the on-site audit we generally perform it with a team of two auditors. Each one of them will focus on his/her own areas of expertise. Be assured that both of them will have pertinent experience in small and/or very small FBO/BAHAs, and be able to very quickly understand your unique risks, challenges and opportunities. Since IS-BAH is scalable and performance-based, the expectations differ depending on the size and complexity of the operations. We fully support this approach and perform our audits accordingly.

Contact us with your company details and receive a free quote for your IS-BAH audit.

 

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Complex FBO/BAHAs

Initial audit

FBO/BAHAs in this category would typically have multiple bases of operation or be part of a large group or global chain. Several secondary services (e.g., catering, fuel, cleaning) would usually be managed in-house. Maintenance operations would cover the handling equipment used to provide the services although aircraft maintenance and/or continuing airworthiness management services would be provided as well.

Initial audits (a.k.a. registration audits) at complex FBO/BAHAs typically involve the interview of a representative sample of all management and non-management positions. Since each and every element of the IS-BAH audit protocol must be assessed at a Stage 1 audit, conducting the audit in a proper manner requires time (on an average 4±1 man-days) and subject matter expertise.

To reduce the duration of the on-site audit we generally perform it with a team of two auditors. Each one of them will focus on his/her own areas of expertise. Be assured that both of them will have pertinent experience in your type of operations, and be able to very quickly understand your unique risks, challenges and opportunities. Since IS-BAH is scalable and performance-based, the expectations differ depending on the size and complexity of the operations. We fully support this approach and perform our audits accordingly.

Contact us with your company details and receive a free quote for your IS-BAH audit.

 

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Complex FBO/BAHAs

Renewal audit

FBO/BAHAs in this category would typically have multiple bases of operation or be part of a large group or global chain. Several secondary services (e.g., catering, fuel, cleaning) would usually be managed in-house. Maintenance operations would cover the handling equipment used to provide the services although aircraft maintenance and/or continuing airworthiness management services would be provided as well.

Renewal audits at complex FBO/BAHAs typically involve the interview of a representative sample of all management and non-management positions, since the main focus of Stage 2 and Stage 3 audits is the Safety Management System (SMS). Is it functioning? Are results being measured? Are SMS activities appropriately targeted? Are safety risks being effectively managed? Since the functioning and performance of the SMS must be reviewed, conducting the audit in a proper manner requires time (on an average 4±1 man-days) and subject matter expertise.

To reduce the duration of the on-site audit we generally perform it with a team of two auditors. Each one of them will focus on his/her own areas of expertise. Be assured that both of them will have pertinent experience in medium or large operations, and be able to very quickly understand your unique risks, challenges and opportunities. Since IS-BAH is scalable and performance-based, the expectations differ depending on the size and complexity of the operations. We fully support this approach and perform our audits accordingly.

Results from one or more safety culture survey(s) would be an asset, but there’s no clear expectation on this matter unless your company is aiming for a Stage 3 audit.

Contact us with your company details and receive a free quote for your IS-BAH audit.

 

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Gap Analysis or pre-audit

While a gap analysis is usually performed at the very beginning of an IS-BAH implementation project (e.g., to define a corporate strategy, goals and objectives), a pre-audit is typically done shortly before a registration or renewal IS-BAH audit. These tools are the safest bet if your organisation aims for an IS-BAH registration but is unsure about the distance remaining before reaching the objective. A gap analysis or a pre-audit is essentially an audit that remains strictly confidential between the operator and the audit organisation. Registration and renewal audits must be notified in advance to IBAC, which is not the case for gap analyses and pre-audits. The same flexibility applies to the gap analysis report itself, which does not have to be transmitted to IBAC.

Would a gap analysis or pre-audit yield a better return on investment than a full-scale audit? They’re the best option whenever your organisation…

  • Considers an IS-BAH registration and wants an expert, independent opinion on the gap remaining to registration and on the best path to be taken in order to achieve it; or
  • Started implementing IS-BAH from scratch and wants to assess the soundness of the new management systems; or
  • Is almost ready for an audit and wishes to perform a life-size assessment beforehand.

In any case the right thing to do is to call an experienced auditor to assess the current situation, point out any issue that might delay your IS-BAH registration/renewal and provide strategic guidance to reach your objective. Gap analyses do not have to cover the complete IS-BAH standard: they can also be bound to one or several specific sections of your choice.

 

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Complex or Non-Complex?

What’s the difference between a complex and a non-complex FBO/BAHA?

Europe attempted to come up with a clear definition in the sectors that are already regulated, however it’s obviously an intricate subject. In EU aviation regulations the complexity of an organisation is a function of its:

  • Size: are there less or more than 20 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs)?
  • Complexity of the activity: for instance the number of operating sites, number and type of contractors; etc.; and/or
  • Risks: what’s the airport environment like? Are specialized or particularly risky operations being conducted?

The final call ultimately resides with the National Aviation Authority of the operator.

Why make a distinction between FBO/BAHAs if it doesn’t exist in the IS-BAH Standard itself?

Every FBO/BAHA is different, and every audit is different, even at the same FBO/BAHA. However, as a courtesy to our visitors from around the world, we proactively answer your legitimate questions regarding the duration of an IS-BAH audit by providing estimates and a brief overview of the audit process based on the complexity of the operation to be audited, and on the level of SMS maturity that needs to be demonstrated. Please bear in mind that they only provide an indication of the duration of an audit.

 

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