IOSA launch marks introduction of international safety standards for airline industry

Qatar Airways has become the first airline to be audited under the International Air Transport Association's Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). The process introduces international operational standards to the industry for the first time.

IATA initiated the international IOSA process in 2000, with 12 task forces comprising 130 individuals contributing, says Capt Paul Woodburn, airline operations and safety consultant and a former IATA safety director.

IOSA, which replaces the current multiple codeshare audits that are undertaken by carriers, focuses on operational management and systems, including corporate organisation, flight operations, flight dispatch, engineering and maintenance, cabin operations, ground handling, cargo operations and security. "A well-managed airline will meet IOSA standards," Woodburn told the Safeskies Australia conference, which took place in Canberra last month.

The primary objective is to introduce standardisation, with airlines that pass included on an IATA IOSA register, he says. The move is expected to reduce the number of safety audits conducted - with one audit per airline to be conducted over a two-year audit cycle - and provides a system for sharing audits.

Audits are being conducted by IATA-accredited audit organisations, with the first training organisation for auditors endorsed in March. An operating standards manual was published a month later and the programme was officially launched on 31 July. The first audit organisations were endorsed in August (Flight International, 9-15 September).

The auditing process will take a few days, with the first airline expected to be on the IOSA register within a couple of months following completion of the report, says Woodburn.

Source: Flight International