IATA is kicking out several carriers for failing to meet its 31 December 2007 deadline for completing IATA operational safety audits (IOSA) and will likely kick out even more at the beginning of 2009 for failing to pass the audit.

The IOSA programme was launched in 2003 with three deadlines. Six carriers missed the first deadline - hiring one of eight accredited firms to conduct the audit - and left IATA in early 2007. IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani expects six to nine carriers will be forced out in early 2008 out for missing the second deadline - completing the audit. However he warns the third deadline, 31 December 2008, represents "the biggest challenge because you need to fix all the bugs that come out of the audit process".

IATA expects carriers in Africa, Latin America and Indonesia will have the most problems putting in place all remedial actions required by the auditors, but says they can receive help from IATA through its partnership for safety programme. In addition to passing the audit by the end of 2008 to retain IATA membership, all audits must be passed within 12 months or they have to be re-started from scratch. IATA director of safety Mike O'Brien says three carriers have already missed this window and several more will likely miss it in 2008. "Closing the audit is a significant challenge," he says. "There's no doubt a lot of the ­airlines will find it difficult."

Although carriers have had more than four years to complete initial audits, about half of IATA members waited until 2007 to do them. O'Brien says 230 audits were completed in 2007, including 38 in December. These include renewal audits - carriers must be re-audited every two years - and audits of non-members. Starting in 2008, IATA will pay the roughly $50,000 cost of the audit.

Source: Flight International