IS-BAO Certification – Audit Checklist & Operations Manual

The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and its member associations developed the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations or IS-BAO as a recommended code of best practices ensuring higher levels of safety and professionalism to aid various flight departments globally. As an industry and international standard, IS-BAO Certification is tailored by operators where they have drafted standards based on the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices or (SARPS.) IS-BAO as an industry standard for business aircraft operations is recognised by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and FAA and CAA in Canada.

The IS-BAO was amended to facilitate its implementation by helicopter operators in the year 2012, which was a joint venture between IBAC, and helicopter associations BHA, HAI, and EHA. The IS-BAO certification serves as the gold standard for business association adding value to it as a widely acknowledged international standard. Since its inception in 2002, more than 700 operators around the world are registered with it. It also undergoes regular evaluation and amendment ensuring to continue promoting best industry practices for high levels of safety. It is the most important certification that every operator must undergo to be certified where the operators must also undergo regular audits, typically every two to three years.

All about ISBAO Certification

IS-BAO – an International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations, in a nutshell, is an industry code of best practice developed by the industry experts for the benefit of the aviation industry. The objective is to promote high professional operational practices to ensure the highest safety standards and professionalism. IS-BAO is envisioned to build upon the excellent safety record already initiated by business aviation. As a norm, international standards are recognised for their role in facilitating global commerce in most of the business sectors. Similarly, IS-BAO, in this respect, serves the fundamental purpose for fostering standardised, safe and highly professional aircraft operations. ‘code of practice’. Learn more from BitLux.

Implementation of IS-BAO leads to enhanced operational safety via predictive, proactive methods; enhanced efficiency and effectiveness via an integrated management system. It satisfies baseline requisites for configuring flight departments, planning and conducting their operations while challenging and encouraging flight departments to review and evaluate their current systems; programs and procedures, It also involves recognising strengths and weaknesses in those procedures to upgrade to a higher standard. The standard is based on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards as the motive is to prepare the operator for both domestic and international operations. Nevertheless, stringent recognition for application of and conformance to the standards prescribed is available through an auditing process that results in an IBAC certificate of registration.

Why is IS-BAO necessary?

International Civil Aviation OrganizationSurprisingly many departments re-write their Operations Manuals, which sometimes require a consultant or other resources to conform with be IS-BAO and to ensure whether they are conforming with their new guides. These standards are clearly defined. After confirming with the new manuals, the last step involves arranging an audit. Here, it is very important for the department to know when or if they are conforming through external auditing or by self. This is because there are different stages of IS-BAO, where the third stage involves re-certification to be done every three years furthered with a mature Safety Management System.

Further, compliance of IS-BAO means adhering to ICAO, and a means to prove conforming flight throughout the globe. It also implies the significant reduction of insurance premiums along with documentation of sustained and enhanced performance of not only the management teams, decision-makers, owners, performance evaluators, and owners, to name a few. It also supports team building while reinforcing ideal department operations and structure. The incorporation of loose ends of SMS (Safety Management System), security training, HR, maintenance, and so on as a traceable protocol is also a part of complying IS-BAO.

IS-BAO Audit Checklist – UPDATED 2019

The last released IS-BAO standard can be used until July 1, 2019. Some of the key changes include ERP protocols which were slightly expanded added to the standard. Removal or consolidation of the redundant protocols. Merging complete removal of the international protocols or their merger with the regular flight operations protocols. Recognition of the regular flight operations protocols to closely align with the process of planning and scheduling a trip and the phases of a flight.

For any company to register with IS-BAO requires them to pass the severe safety audit. In this case, the auditing is performed by a registered auditor who duly fulfils inspections mentioned in the compliance protocols. Further, the auditor also performs regular inspections every two years to ensure if the company complies with the latest updates and safety standards as well. While auditing, the following factors are included which are not limited to, standard operating procedures; training programs; organisation and staff; emergency planning; environmental management, flight operations, etc. Upon meeting the standards of the undermentioned best practices amongst others by a company, it can then increase its changes in registering with the organisation. Over 200 air charter operators globally have fulfilled the rigorous standards prescribed.

The IS-BAO audit checklist updated for 2019 also involves the stages of Safety Management System (SMS) compliance. Furthermore, the aviation company, in compliance with the standard, is considered to be improvising with time, ensuring impeccable commitment to their customers along with ensuring their crew’s safety. The three basic steps of SMS are as follows:

  1. The first stage of SMS warrants that the company has furnished all the safety management system structures after which it is concentrating on the safety management activities.
  2. The second stage of compliance implies that the company is effectively and efficiently managing safety risks.
  3. The third and the final stage reflects that the company has completely integrated all the safety activities while its employees are maintaining a relatively positive safety culture.

IS-BAO Operations Manual

flight operations manualThe programs stated in the operation manual centres on the SMS, which is developed by ICAO along with other operations-critical industries. The purpose is to direct the operator right from establishment of the beginning protocols to the sustained SMS and operations program for a culture of risk aversion via performance-based programs for all operations irrespective of the fact that they are large or small. As the IS-BAO audit checklist needs to be updated regularly as the audits are conducted every two years to ensure high safety standards. The audits also provide valuable feedback to the operator to accentuate operations. Upon successful completion of the IS-BAO safety audit, a registration certificate is issued, which serves as the valid proof of compliance with most of the international key standards that hold significance in a major number of countries.

Most often, the flight operations manual is constantly updated with IS-BAO standards and protocols that support the International Civil Aviation Organization along with best practices prescribed by expert auditors and operators. The IS-BAO operations manual is optimised as to be compatible for viewing on a plethora of devices ranging from desktop computers to iPads. Here, the SMS Forms that support Safety Management System process and analysis information are also included. For optimising the manual, additional items are included alongside customising the existing operations guidelines to provide easy access to essential information for all the personnel involved in flight operations.

The IS-BAO manual is divided into various sections like Organization and Administration; Operating Procedures; Safety Management System; Aircraft Maintenance, etc. All the sections hold prominence and play a vital role in ensuring efficient operations, along with maintaining a high safety standard. In the organisation and administration section, an outline of the organisational hierarchy along with the respective duties, responsibilities, and qualifications of all the personnel within the operation including personnel policies like uniforms, use of mobile devices, recordkeeping, etc.

In the SMS section of the IS-BAO operations manual, the various SMS Forms, overall protocols, etc. are included. For each operator, the hazard identification, tracking, and resolution system are tailored accordingly in both graphic and text format. In the Operating procedures section, trip scheduling, weather, flight rules, performance, aircraft defects, use of IS-BAO audit checklists, passenger and cabin safety procedures, to name a few are provided. The other section, which includes emergency procedures, describes guidelines to follow during airborne emergencies, emergency landing, and evaluation, etc.

Qualifications and training also make a part of the IS-BAO operations manual where the information on the qualification and the kind of training all the personnel of the flight department must undergo are mentioned. Aircraft maintenance and security procedures stated in the operations manual provide information on aircraft maintenance alongside elements of aircraft maintenance, aircraft records, preventative maintenance, tool calibration, maintenance safety programs, etc. Unlike aircraft maintenance, security procedures in the manual give the complete picture of all the operator’s policies and procedures related to security. This includes threat assessment, responsive measures, pre-flight to post-flight aircraft and passenger security; guidelines for dealing with unlawful interferences, to name a few.

IS-BAO certification is important for operators. Further, once the operator is IS-BAO certified, they directly qualify for the Gold Plus Rating as well. This demonstrates the working of the two ratings of which the latter is important to maintain high-level professionalism along with maintaining higher standards of safety measures.

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