GENEVA – The US Federal Aviation Administration's approval today of the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) program "is a valuable step in strengthening global safety standards," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO.

"The United States and its aviation partners around the world share a commitment to improving global aviation safety. This new audit accreditation program is an important step toward achieving a single international set of audit standards that will make flying safer," said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey.

Many governments, including the US Department of Transportation, require their flag airlines to audit foreign code-share partners. The FAA's recognition of IOSA [] permits US carriers to use the programme's accredited audit organizations to comply with the US audit requirement rather than perform an audit themselves.

;"IOSA is the world's only airline safety audit program incorporating globally recognised standards and best practices," Bisignani said. "IOSA is available to all airlines and will bring great benefits by confirming the thoroughness of operational structures and enhancing code-share opportunities."

Bisignani noted that airlines in the US and elsewhere will be spared performing redundant audits of prospective code-share partners provided those partners hold upstanding IOSA audits, which are valid for two years. To make IOSA as accessible as possible to all airlines, IATA is absorbing the program operating costs in 2004.

"IOSA creates the first global industry benchmark for safety while removing the inefficiency of repetitive auditing," he said. "Today's announcement is not only an approval but a validation of the joint commitment by FAA and IATA to improving global aviation safety."

Notes for Editors

Q: What is the goal of IOSA?
A: To provide a standardized audit programme of the operational management and control systems of an airline that is based on internationally-recognised standards and supported by a rigorous quality assurance process, for the purpose of serving the airline industry in terms of improving worldwide operations and reducing the number of operational audits that are conducted. All airlines (IATA and non-IATA) are welcome to seek an IOSA audit. All IATA member airlines have committed to seek registration as an IOSA Operator by January 1, 2006.

Q: Which operational areas of an airline are audited under the IOSA Programme (i.e. what is the scope of the audit)?
A: IOSA audits the following areas:

  • Corporate Organization & Management
  • Flight Operations
  • Operational Control/Flight Dispatch
  • Aircraft Engineering & Maintenance
  • Cabin Operations
  • Aircraft Ground Handling
  • Cargo Operations
  • Operational Security

Q: What are the benefits of IOSA?
A: The audit under IOSA is based on internationally recognized operational standards, and assesses the operational management and control systems of an airline. An airline that has been audited to full conformity with IOSA standards makes a clear positive statement about the integrity of its operations and its ability to manage associated risks.

IOSA – through a system of audit sharing – will reduce the number of operational audits that are conducted throughout the industry. The result will be fewer airline resources dedicated to this function, which in turn means lower costs. IOSA represents operational excellence and for the registered IOSA Operator, there is an enhanced potential for a whole range of shared commercial opportunities (e.g. code-share, wet lease, aircraft leasing, etc).

Q: What is the general structure of the IOSA Program?
A: To ensure integrity, quality, and oversight of the Program, these are the principal entities of the IOSA Programme and their basic functions:
· IATA – Developer of the Standards, keeper of the IOSA Registry, Accreditation of Audit Organizations and Endorsed Training Organizations, and ongoing Quality oversight of the IOSA Program
· Audit Organisations – Accredited by IATA, they conduct the IOSA audits
· Endorsed Training Organization – Accredited by IATA, they train IOSA Auditors
· IOSA Oversight Committee – Comprised of 25 Airlines, 10 Regulatory Authorities plus Observers, this committee provides oversight of and guidance to the IOSA Program.

IATA has an internal quality assurance system that will maintain stringent oversight of all functions that make up the IOSA process.

Q: Who conducts the audits under the IOSA Program?
A: IATA has accredited Audit Organizations (AOs) to conduct audits on its behalf. For a list of accredited AOs. The AOs engage experienced aviation auditors that have undergone a stringent training and qualification process and have been approved as IOSA Auditors.

Q: What is the Regulatory Authority involvement in IOSA?
A: Certain key regulatory authorities from around the world have been involved in the development of IOSA from the beginning. IATA recognises the necessity of regulatory acceptance to ensure the future success of the IOSA Program. Regulators see the benefit of IOSA in being able to enhance and extend their regulatory oversight of both domestic and foreign airlines.

The FAA has been involved in IOSA development from the beginning and is supportive. After extensive investigation and verification, FAA has now fully accepted IOSA. Therefore, US airlines may now submit to FAA code-share audit programmes based upon IOSA. This will bring great benefit both to the US airlines and their many commercial airline partners globally.

Current members of the IOSA Oversight Committee include representatives for the regulatory authorities of Australia (CASA), Canada (Transport Canada), China, European Union, France (DGAC), Scandinavia and the United States (FAA). Many other authorities participate as observers.

Q: What is ICAO's position on IOSA?
A: ICAO has been involved with IOSA from the very beginning, is fully supportive and considers IOSA as fully complementary to the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit program of states.

Q: What is the IOSA Registry?
A: The Registry is a publicly available list of all current IOSA Operators. An Operator is not added to the Registry until all findings identified in the course of an IOSA audit have been satisfactorily closed, and the operator is in conformity with all IOSA standards. The registry is found on the IATA website. Registration is valid for a period of 24 months from the closing meeting. IATA will provide notification for audit renewal for carriers that are on the IOSA Registry.

More information on IOSA