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FAA Issues SMS Rules for Part 135 Operators

FAA Issues SMS Rules for Part 135 Operators

Charter operators will have up to three years to implement a proactive safety system.

Certain aircraft manufacturers and Part 135 on-demand charter and commuter operators will need to implement a safety management system (SMS) in the coming years, according to much-anticipated FAA final rules expanding FAR Part 5 requirements. Depending on the operation type, the rules require those affected to have an SMS implemented in one to three years. However, less restrictive provisions apply to single-pilot organizations.

According to the agency, the rules currently cover approximately 1,848 Part 135 operators, 694 air tour operators, and 65 Part 21 design or production certificate holders (15 of which are already implementing SMS under the FAA’s voluntary program). Additionally, there are 715 letters of authorization (LOA) for Part 91 holders approved to conduct air tours that are required to implement an SMS—362 of these LOA holders have only one aircraft.

“Requiring more aviation organizations to implement a proactive approach to managing safety will prevent accidents and save lives,” said FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker. He noted that the rules also require those who have an SMS to share hazard information with other aviation organizations “so they can work collaboratively to identify and address potential safety issues.”

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This article was written by AIN contributor Gordon Gilbert and published in AIN on April 23, 2024.