IOSA and Enhanced IOSA – Industry Standard for Operational Safety Audit Procedure

Since 2003 the International Air Transport Association IATA has been awarding an IOSA Certificate for adherence to certain operational safety standards. The IOSA certification has been mandatory for all IATA-members since 2007. New applicants may nowadays only become IATA-members under the condition that they possess an IOSA-certificate. To this day, 402 air transport companies have such an industry standard certificate, 248 of them are IATA members.

The objectives of the IOSA Program: Improvement of operational safety procedures

The primary objective of this program is the standardization of the audit implementation/practices and the implementation of the IOSA “Standards and Recommended Practices “- (ISARPs) into the operational processes of an air transport company. The ISARPs have been developed in cooperation with the leading airlines world-wide and aviation authorities (among them FAA, CASA, JAA, Transport Canada) and are recognized as an international industrial standard for operational safety procedures. A further intended objective is the significant reduction of the number of (redundant) audits under the IATA members (“Audit-Sharing”).

Results of the IOSA Audit: IOSA Certification

After the conclusion of the audit procedure the air transport company will receive an IOSA-certificate, under the condition that all the results (Findings & Observations) from the audit are rectified within 12 months of the conclusion of the audit.

The IOSA certificate is valid for a period of 24 months and must be renewed before its expiry date.

The following areas form the main focus of an IOSA Audits:

  • Organization and Management of the airline
  • Flight Operation & Training (Pilots & Cabin Crew)
  • Flight Dispatch
  • Ground Handling
  • Technicals & Maintenance

The IOSA audit procedure is regulated in the IOSA Program Manual. The ISARPs are listed in the IOSA Standard Manual.

Implementation of an IOSA Audit-Procedure:

The IOSA-audits are exclusively carried out by certified  and economically independent Audit Organizations (AO).

Currently, they are 8 Audit Organizations worldwide licensed by IATA.

After the conclusion of an audit contract, the Audit Organizations will put a team of auditors together, mostly consisting of specialists in the individual areas mentioned above.

The auditing team will  conduct the audit usually with 5 auditors, including a “Lead-Auditor”.  The Lead Auditor is responsible for the conduction of the audit and compilation of the IOSA Audit Report (“IAR”- Final Report), which is decisive for the further course of the certification process.

During the audit, more than 900 ISARPs from all operational areas of an air transport company will be reviewed for their documentation (controlled documentation) and implementation. The auditors use mostly computer-controlled checklists and go through the ISARPs in the sequence defined in the ISM.

Should an airline’s standard not conform to the IOSA specifications, this will be recorded as a  “Finding”. The airline is granted a period of 12 months (starting from the date of the final audit meeting) to rectify all “Findings” and present the Corrective Action Record to the Audit Organization.

After the successful conclusion of the process the Audit Organization shall declare the IOSA Audit to be completed and recommend accepting the airline into the “IOSA Registry”.

The IOSA-audit is usually accomplished within 5 days and is free of charge for IATA members. 

Enhanced IOSA audit process: Add-on for IOSA Audit Procedure

The Enhanced IOSA procedure focuses  airline’s  self-auditing and quality assurance programs, to ensure continued conformity with  IOSA “Standards and Recommended Practices “- (ISARPs).

The additional procedure should increase efficiency to the evaluation of operational safety and security practices. 

What will change?

Audit Organizations (AO) will continue to conduct the on-site renewal audit every 24 months, and also focus on ensuring the IOSA standards are implemented by operators. 

Before renewal Audit, the AO will receive a conformance report as a record of the airline internal quality program and audit activities.

The airline is responsible  to ensure  the implementation of the ISARPs and shall demonstrate the reliability and integrity of their internal quality assurance system, throughout the 24 months registration period.

The Enhanced IOSA is for all IOSA renewal audits  as of  September 2015 mandatory,  until then, on a voluntary basis.

Marc Israel | AirlineProfiler

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