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aviation, Safety Management Systems

Congress Passes Safety Management Law

The next great management theory, Safety Management Systems, is now required by law!

The President signed into law the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 on August 1. One of the provisions of this new law is a requirement that the FAA publish a notice of proposed rulemaking within 90 days that would impose a requirement for Safety Management Systems (SMS) on air carriers. Under the law’s deadline, the final rule must be issued by August 1, 2012.

Congress has directed that the SMS follow the model published in AC 120-92. This model diverges from the international standards for SMS that were published by ICAO by including additional details and elements, but it is nonetheless sufficiently similar to the ICAO model that air carriers following the new regulations ought to be in compliance with the international standards.

We should expect to see the NPRM published by November 1. It is likely that we will all want to comment on this proposal in order to make sure that data collection paradigms that are developed will support safety without imposing unwarranted burden on third parties. In addition, the model established for air carriers is likely to set the tone for the models that will eventually be imposed on other certificate holders.

The FAA continues to investigate strategies for implementing SMS rules for all certificate holding companies in aviation.

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About Jason Dickstein

Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. He represents several aviation trade associations, including the Aviation Suppliers Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association.

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