The National Academies

ACRP 04-05 [Completed]

A Guidebook for Airport Safety Management Systems

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Research Agency: Applied Research Associates, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Manuel Ayres, Jr.
Effective Date: 5/24/2007
Completion Date: 3/31/2009
Comments: Results published as ACRP Report 1.

An airport safety management system (SMS) provides a systematic, proactive approach to reducing the risk and severity of aircraft accidents/incidents on the airfield. ICAO has adopted a standard for SMS that has been applicable to international airports since November 2005. The FAA has developed guidance on SMS implementation in the United States and is planning to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Airport operators in the United States have safety programs in place that have resulted in today’s high level of aviation safety. These programs can form the basis of a more comprehensive SMS. The SMS will supplement these programs by providing a systematic, proactive approach that includes (a) documenting identified hazards and their mitigation; (b) monitoring and measuring the ongoing safety experience of the airport; (c) establishing a voluntary non-punitive safety reporting system that can be used by employees of the airport operator, airlines, and tenants; and (d) improving the entire airport’s safety culture. A key component of an SMS is safety risk management that considers the probabilities of occurrence of an accident/incident and the severity or consequences of that accident/incident.

A guidebook will be timely and useful to airports in developing and implementing a safety management system consistent with guidance that results from the FAA rulemaking process.  The SMS guidebook should describe the associated concepts, methodologies, processes, tools, and safety performance measurements that can be applied by airports based on their level of operations and complexity. 

The objective of this research is to create a guidebook for developing and implementing airport safety management systems (SMS). The guidebook must be applicable to all airports that have certificates issued under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 139, Certification of Airports, and should consider variations in operations and complexities at these airports. (See Special Note A.) 

Status:  The project is completed as ACRP Report 1: Safety Management Systems for Airports, Volume 2: Guidebook.


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