NATA’s Air Operator Safety Initiatives

The National Air Transportation Association’s (NATA) Safety 1st Management System for Air Operators (NATA SMS) is a systematic, comprehensive program for the management of safety risks. For companies with existing safety programs, NATA’s SMS can serve either as a confirming benchmark or bolster the safety management at your operation. NATA feels a proactive approach to safety, through a professional safety management system is the best course of action to improve the overall air charter safety record while enhancing industry standardization and improving public perception.

NATA established a safety management system known as the NATA Safety 1st Management System for Ground (SMS Ground) in 2004. The goal of the program aims to reduce ground handling accidents and the resultant insurance claims by 50% over the next five years. The SMS Ground consists of two basic components: development by the participant of a customized safety program based on industry best practices and procedures, and continual monitoring of risks, while collecting and submitting incident and accident data for analysis.

NATA has expanded its successful SMS product to include air operations. NATA SMS for Air Operators defines how operational safety should be managed and how it can be integrated into an organization’s business activities. It keeps the safety message consistent, interesting and always out front.

NATA SMS will instill a heightened safety culture throughout each participating air operator by embracing a safety program based on recognized industry standards, supported by rigorous industry data. NATA is working closely with the FAA to ensure that our program, as well as any others, meets established guidelines and criteria.

Understanding that compliance with the regulations does not in and of itself result in the corporate safety culture and quality management many operators wish to achieve, NATA SMS can assist the Part 135 on-demand air taxi community in raising the safety and quality bar, which in turn will improve operational safety performance by lowering incident rates and identifying potential risks for accidents.

NATA believes that the SMS program will accomplish more to improve the safety of air operations than further regulatory burdens that do nothing to foster the necessary “corporate culture” essential to establishing a superior safety standard.