Raytheon-owned fractional business jet provider Flight Options is playing a leading role in the development of the US Federal Aviation Administration's next-generation safety initiatives.

The company is the largest of eight aviation businesses that will help the FAA determine the best ways of implementing a safety management system (SMS).

The work in part will help the FAA to meet a 1 January 2009 International Civil Aviation Organisation mandate for having SMS in place at commercial airlines. The FAA's aim is to issue a rulemaking to make SMS a required component of most aviation businesses.

The FAA last summer issued guidelines for the programmes, which include an error reporting and correction function as well as a method for providing feedback to employees.

Chuck Starkey, Flight Options vice-president of safety and security, says of the SMS guidelines "we already have a lot of it in place".

Key to Flight Options' SMS, set to go live in March, will be a non-punitive safety reporting system that allows employees to report problems or errors without fear of retribution.

Source: Flight International