FAA Draft AC 150/5200-37A, Safety Management Systems for Airports

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ARTICLE: Safety Management System (SMS) Guidance for Airports

The recently released FAA Draft SMS for Airports Advisory Circular (AC) provides excellent guidance for developing and implementing an airport SMS.

The AC does a good job of stressing the benefits of SMS such as reducing costs due to accidents and incidents, identifying best use of limited resources and reduced reliance on fewer personnel.

The AC expresses an intelligent vision for expanding SMS beyond airside operations to include landside operations. In many cases, the same employees manage air and landside responsibilities and it makes sense to be consistent in safety management in both areas. We would extend this vision to include using the SMS model for environmental, quality and security management.

There are samples for most of the required SMS elements including policy statements, SMS manual, implementation plan and checklist, hazard report and dashboards.

Scalability is referred to many times in the AC. It’s important to note that scalability applies to the “how” and “who” but not the “what.” The SMS requirements apply to all airports regardless of size.

Reasonable guidance is provided for implementing software reporting technology including:

  • Use predefined fields or drop-down menus for data entry to standardize reporting and analysis
  • Link hazard location to airport layout plan or allow tagging through airport GIS
  • Ensure system automatically notifies designated management official when safety report is submitted
  • Determine data host
  • Design scalability into the system to ensure it can expand to track more issues, reporting from other sources and be connected to other airport systems

Implementing technology as part of SMS is critical for any size airport to minimize labor demand and avoid cosmetic compliance.  Smaller airports benefit from SMS technology by leveraging technologies efficiency into existing Part 139, OSHA, security and other risk management functions. The additional efficiency gained reduces the labor required to manage current and new requirements making SMS manageable at current staffing levels. Medium and large hub airports benefit from consistency in processes and procedures across organizational boundaries, automation of safety communication, real time visibility of accountability and the opportunity to centralize all Part 139 reporting processes (existing and new).

JDA can assist with technology assessments that map current and new part 139 requirements relative to existing and SMS technology and identify the overlaps and gaps. From this we can help the airport identify necessary integration and technology needs from which to navigate SMS technology options.

If you are interested in leveraging the most benefit for your airport through SMS, join us in Orlando for the upcoming Roadmap to Airport Safety Management System Implementation and Operation training course .

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1 Comment on "FAA Draft AC 150/5200-37A, Safety Management Systems for Airports"

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