Flight Options has become the first fractional ownership operator to participate in the US Federal Aviation Administration’s Aviation Safety Action Programme (ASAP), under which crews voluntarily report safety incidents and issues. The company is also the first Part 135 operator outside Alaska to join the ASAP, which now involves almost 50 Part 121 carriers.

Joining the ASAP requires the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the FAA, the operator and its employees that encourages timely self-reporting of safety problems. The FAA says the MoU with Flight Options is a test programme to see how the ASAP might be expanded to cover Part 135 operators.

The ASAP protects employees who voluntarily disclose errors and report problems such as operational deficiencies, deviations from procedures and unusual events, while retaining the FAA’s ability to take enforcement action for non-compliance with regulations. Events are reviewed, and non-disciplinary corrective actions determined, jointly by representatives of the FAA, operator and employees.

Flight Options, which operates around 200 aircraft, says instituting the ASAP will help it proactively identify and correct safety hazards. The Cleveland, Ohio-based company “established the management oversight structure of a Part 121 carrier” in 2004, and says joining ASAP “was a logical next step”.

Other than Alaskan carriers already participating in the ASAP though the Medallion Foundation, the FAA says it is not presently recruiting Part 135 operators for the programme. “The key question is whether Part 135 participants would have adequate resources to conduct a robust programme,” the agency says.

Source: Flight International