ACI-NA Files Comments on Draft AC-Safety Management Systems for Airports

ACI-NA, working jointly with the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), recently submitted comments to the FAA regarding draft Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5200-37A, Safety Management Systems for Airports.  The AC is extremely important for those airport operators that will be required to develop safety management systems (SMS) under 14 CFR Part 139 when the Safety Management Systems for Certificated Airports final rule is issued.

ACI-NA’s overarching comments include the following:

  • Flexibility in the development, implementation and operation of airport SMS programs is critical for success; scalability is vitally important when reviewing SMS implementation plans, SMS manuals or Airport Certification Manual sections.
  • Regulatory requirements need to be clearly differentiated from best practices guidance and other advisory content throughout the AC.
  • Examples provided for guidance purposes should be clearly denoted as such and should not be presumed to represent either the preferred approach or preferred means of compliance.
  • Regulatory requirements stated in the AC must align with those described in the Final Rule.
  • Airport Operators need clear descriptions of how FAA airport safety certification inspectors will review airport SMS programs.
  • FAA should recognize that it may be difficult or impossible for airport operators to obtain safety data from private companies and/or from non-punitive reporting systems because of legitimate concerns about public disclosure.
  • Additional guidance is needed regarding the interoperability of SMS programs among airport sponsors, airlines, other flight operators, the FAA Air Traffic Organization, and other aviation service providers.
  • Heightened collaboration is needed among FAA, airport operators and other key safety partners for NAS-wide implementation of airport SMS program to be successful.

The FAA is expected to issue the final rule and advisory guidance in the first half of 2017.