Aviation Safety Management Systems (SMS) have become a standard throughout the aviation industry. The United States has been slow to adopt formal aviation safety management systems because of the country's democratic nature. Much energy has been devoted to understanding and debating the effectiveness of government mandated aviation safety management systems worldwide. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and civil aviation authorities (CAA) and aviation product/service providers admit that formal aviation safety management systems are the next step in the evolution of aviation safety.
The concept of aviation safety management systems is not new. Many other industries have already incorporated similar management systems to manage critical areas such as quality, compliance, occupational safety and health, security, environment, etc.
Aviation Safety Management Systems for aviation service providers and regulators will mold modern safety risk management, safety assurance and safety promotion concepts into repeatable, proactive systems. Aviation safety management systems focus on safety management as a fundamental business process to be integrated into a business culture in the same manner as other fundamental aspects of business management. Strategic thinking managers realize the financial benefits that effective aviation safety management systems can bring to the organization, in both tangible and intangible ways.
Top management commitment is necessary for aviation safety management systems to be effective and to become part of the company culture. By recognizing an organization's role in accident prevention, aviation safety management systems provide:
- Organized & repeatable strategies for aviation safety risk management decision making;
- Methods for demonstrating aviation safety management capabilities before real system failures occur;
- Heightened assurance in risk controls and recovery measures though structured safety assurance processes;
- Effective methodology for sharing knowledge and information between civil aviation authorities and operators; and
- Efficient safety promotion frameworks nurturing aviation safety cultures.