ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP)

The objective of USOAP is to promote global aviation safety through auditing Contracting States.

The ICAO USOAP was launched in January 1999 in response to widespread concerns on the apparent inability of some Contracting States to carry out their safety oversight functions.[1]

The conduct of audits was launched on January 2005 and ended in 2010. Beyond 2010, through continuous monitoring of States and re-evaluation of safety oversight capabilities, the USOAP Program will keep enhancing the global aviation safety.

The Scope of the program is to identify any problems encountered by States in implementation of a safety oversight system and safety-related ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.

The auditing process covers all safety-related Annexes and focus on the overall capability of States for safety oversight:

  • Annex 1 — Personnel Licensing
  • Annex 6 — Operation of Aircraft
  • Annex 8 — Airworthiness of Aircraft
  • Annex 11 — Air Traffic Services
  • Annex 13 — Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation
  • Annex 14 — Aerodromes

USOAP Results as a Potential Safety Indicator

The measurement used to determine USOAP results is the State’s Lack of Effective Implementation score (LEI).[2] The most favorable USOAP results are those having the lowest LEI percentage[3].

USOAP assesses eight critical elements related to the establishment and implementation of a State’s safety oversight system[4]:

  • Primary Aviation Legislation
  • Specific Operating Regulations
  • State Civil Aviation System and Safety Oversight Function
  • Technical Personnel Qualification and Training
  • Technical Guidance, Tools and the Provision of Safety-Critical Information
  • Licensing, Certification, Authorization and Approval Obligations
  • Surveillance Obligations
  • Resolution of Safety Concerns

ICAO safety analysts assigned each State to three categories according to their LEI score to achieve a common safety metrics in order to develop an effective global safety strategy[5]:

  1. Most favorable – includes States having LEIs of 30% or below;
  2. Moderate – includes States having LEIs between 30% and 50% and
  3. Least favorable – includes States having LEIs above 50%.
  • Remarks: By applying this classification States were very evenly distributed, with 48 States in the ‘favorable’ category, 46 States in the ‘moderate’ category and 48 States in the ‘unfavorable’ category.[6]

The next step was to correlate accident rates and USOAP results at the State level


It shows, a high  score of the eight critical safety elements, is corresponding with the reduction in accident rates

Evaluation and Rating of USOAP Results in the Flight Safety Module (FST)

The USOAP Results for each participating State are presented in a status chart, for further details, please refer to

The chart shows the eight critical elements, the level of implementation (1=not implemented, 10= fully implemented) and the world average.

To calculate an USOAP value, we check how often the level of implementation lays above world average (gray squares), here some examples:




Source: ICAO –







World USOAP rating overview[8]


The Map shows the deviation from the current global average of 47[8]. The USOAP rating   for each country is calculated as shown in chart below:


Presentation of USOAP Results in the Flight Safety Module (FST)



















[8] JACDEC, Jan Richter

[9] JACDEC, Jan Richter

Leave A Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.