Hanoi, Vietnam – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) marked the first 20 years of the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) at the IATA World Safety and Operations Conference taking place in Hanoi, Vietnam.

“Over the past two decades, IOSA has made a major contribution to improving safety, while reducing the number of redundant audits. While it is a condition of membership in IATA, more than 100 non-IATA member airlines also see the value of participating and we welcome others. Likewise, while more than 40 governments use or are intending to use IOSA in their safety oversight programs, many more do not,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President Operations, Safety and Security.

The safety data confirm that in aggregate, airlines on the IOSA registry have a lower accident rate than airlines that are not on the IOSA registry. Since 2005, the all-accident rate for airlines on the IOSA registry is 1.40 per million sectors, compared with 3.49 per million sectors for non-IOSA airlines. In 2022, IOSA registered carriers outperformed those not on the registry by a factor of four (0.70 accidents per million sectors vs. 2.82 accidents per million sectors).

Reflecting the strong safety performance of airlines on the IOSA registry, IATA entered into IOSA’s third decade with a call for:

  • Regulators to recognize the significant contribution to safety that IOSA makes as the global standard for airline operational safety and to incorporate IOSA into their own safety regulatory oversight programs.
  • Airlines not yet on the IOSA registry to join. Currently, some 417 operators are on the IOSA registry, of which 107 are non-IATA members.

A History of Continuous Improvement

IOSA was launched in September 2003 with Qatar Airways as the first airline to be audited and join the IOSA Registry. IOSA has been a requirement for IATA membership since 2006. It is also a condition of membership in the three global airline alliances, as well as a number of regional airline associations. It is used by regulators in numerous countries to complement their safety regulatory oversight programs, and as the primary means to verify operational safety for many airline codeshare arrangements.

The audit assesses an airline’s conformity with the IOSA standards and recommended practices (ISARPs). These are based on the internationally agreed standards and recommended practices set down and maintained through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

IOSA was developed in cooperation with aviation regulatory bodies, including Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada.

Last year, IATA began evolving IOSA to a risk-based model under which audits are tailored to the operator’s profile and focusing on high-risk areas. The new approach also introduces a maturity assessment of the airline's safety-critical systems and programs.

“IOSA is the globally recognized standard for airline operational safety auditing. Now we are taking it to the next level by tailoring the audit activity to the operator’s profile and focusing on high-risk areas. As IOSA evolves to deliver greater value for the operator and the industry, we hope additional airlines will see the value of this important safety program and strongly urge more governments to make it a formal part of their safety oversight," said Careen.

IOSA by the Numbers

  • 417 operators on the IOSA registry
  • Over 4,000 IOSA audits conducted
  • 922 standards in the IOSA Standards Manual (ISM)
  • The ISM is in its 16th Edition 
  • 14 countries include IOSA in their regulations.
  • Approximately 27 regulators have signed MoUs with IATA to use IOSA
  • Approximately 15,000 redundant audits have been avoided through audit reports/questionnaire sharing


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Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 320 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.
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