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Safety Matters - IS-BAH

Business jet operators, unlike their counterparts in the commercial airline business, fly regularly into smaller airports with lower traffic volumes. While apron and taxiway movements are normally less constrained at these smaller airports than at larger international airports, the choice for handling service providers may also be limited, and it may be more difficult to ascertain the quality of service of an unfamiliar handling agent.

Mario Pierobon   |   13th October 2014
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Mario Pierobon Mario Pierobon

Mario Pierobon holds a Master’s Degree in Air Transportation Management from City University...
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IS-BAH: An outline of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling

Business jet operators, unlike their counterparts in the commercial airline business, fly regularly into smaller airports with lower traffic volumes. While apron and taxiway movements are normally less constrained at these smaller airports than at larger international airports, the choice for handling service providers may also be limited, and it may be more difficult to ascertain the quality of service of an unfamiliar handling agent.

Building on the experience of the largely successful International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) audit program, earlier in the year the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) introduced IS-BAH - the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling – to address the issue of the quality of business aircraft handling services throughout the industry.

Business Aviation flight operations, as part of their Safety Management System (SMS) requirements, seek verification of the level of proficiency of the handling of their business aircraft. “IS-BAH was developed at the request of industry, by the industry, to provide standardisation to handlers and operators around the world, and to meet the coming SMS requirements from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),” an IBAC spokesperson told AvBuyer Magazine. “The Business Aviation community have been asking for an industry lead standardized program for a number of years.

Essentially an industry code of best practices developed by the international Business Aviation community for the benefit its members, conforming to these standards and recommended practices is voluntary.

IS-BAH Framework

Like IS-BAO, IS-BAH is built upon some of the SMS framework for safety management. The program centres on the SMS developed by ICAO and other operations-critical industries, the IBAC spokesperson added, highlighting the focus placed by ICAO Safety Management Manual (Doc 9859) on defining the SMS as a ‘systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organizational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures’.

It should be remembered that there is no regulatory oversight for Business Aviation handling. It is important to note, however, that the focus of IS-BAH is not on providing standard operating procedures, establishing a list of peculiarities of handling business aircraft for handling agents to comply with. Instead, the standard focuses on safety performance management. IS-BAH follows the same framework as IS-BAO in that it constitutes a standard in relation to the management system of a business aircraft handling company with focus on safety management as recommended by ICAO.

“The program centres on the Safety Management System and continuous improvement,” the IBAC spokesperson clarified to AvBuyer. “It leads from the establishment of starting principles, to a sustainable SMS and operations program, to a performance-based, risk averse culture for both large and small FBOs/Business Aviation Handling Agencies (BAHAs).”

The standard is essentially designed to be fully scalable for the wide variety of FBO/BAHAs, allowing implementation of standards and recommended practices applicable to the scope of services they offer. Thus, the IS-BAH program covers all aspects of Business Aviation handling.

IS-BAH Audits

Audits concentrate on SMS development through a gradual, but increasingly detailed process, the IBAC spokesperson detailed:

• Stage One: confirms that the SMS infrastructure is established, and that safety management activities are appropriately targeted and all supporting standards established.

• Stage Two: ensures that safety management activities are appropriately targeted, and that safety risks are being effectively managed.

• Stage Three: verifies that safety management activities are fully integrated into the operator’s business, and that a positive safety culture is being sustained.

Several operational areas fall within the scope of the audit program. “Each and every Business Aviation aircraft, operator and FBO/BAHA differs in its operational needs and abilities,” the spokesperson noted. The audit structure covers the applicable services offered by the facility which can include, but are not limited to:

• Facilities and Ramp;

• Passengers;

• Baggage and Cargo Handling;

• Support Equipment Requirements;

• Aircraft Maintenance Requirements;

• Emergency Response Planning;

• Environmental Management;

• Occupational Health and Safety;

• Dangerous Goods; and

• Security.

IS-BAH Benefits

IBAC promises that IS-BAH registered FBO/BAHAs will benefit from the same advantages experienced by current IS-BAO-registered operators who are enthusiastic in their praise of the program, noting that since implementation they have experienced enhanced operational safety through predictive and proactive methods.

“Ground safety occurrences do not distinguish between the different types of operation - Commercial, non-Commercial, Business or General Aviation,” the spokesperson warned. “Safety occurrences happen for a large number of reasons. The implementation of measures to identify hazards and mitigate exposure to such risks is paramount in all walks of life, and Business Aviation is no different.”

Additional benefits for prospective IS-BAH-registered organisations will include improved efficiency and effectiveness through an integrated management system; increased senior management understanding and appreciation of the flight department; reduced insurance rates; the ability to measure overall department performance; and a sense of teamwork and pride of achievement among personnel.

The Path to IS-BAH

The procedure to follow for an organisation to achieve IS-BAH registration consists of six main steps, as reported by IBAC:

• Step One: Purchase the IS-BAH Manual, which contains the standards (13 Chapters) and the IS-BAH Implementation Guide from an IBAC regional or national affiliate.

• Step Two: Perform a ‘gap analysis’ of the operation, as compared to the standards and procedures of the IS-BAH program.

• Step Three: Have a representative of the organization attend an IBAC-approved ‘Fundamentals of IS-BAH’ workshop.

• Step Four: After a first familiarization with IS-BAH the organization is expected to develop procedures to identify hazards and eliminate the quantified risk (or reduce it to acceptable levels) using guidance material provided with the standard.

• Step Five: Integrate procedures into department systems, programs, operating procedures and manuals - again using the materials provided.

• Step Six: Complete an IS-BAH audit by selecting an accredited IS-BAH auditor.

IS-BAH audits are conducted every two years to ensure compliance with the standard and to provide feedback to the operator. A registration certificate is issued by IBAC upon successful completion of an audit which serves as proof of compliance with several key ICAO standards, which are required for operations in number of countries. Discover more about IS-BAH at www.ibac.org/is_bah

 

Read more about: Safety | IS-BAH

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