IATA: Safety program

The Safety program of IATA1

The safety program is a comprehensive approach developed by the International air transport association to enhance the operational safety of the airlines, airports, and other aviation organizations. The program is established in close co-operation with the member airlines of IATA and strategic partners through the International Air Transport Association safety group and the operations committee. This program focuses on all the areas of operation in the aviation industry which impacts the operational safety1

The components of the safety program includes the following,

  • Infrastructure safety
  • Safety Data management and analysis
  • Safety management system
  • Auditing

Infrastructure safety

The air transport infrastructure operates in a broad safety environment which encompasses Air navigation service providers (ANSP's). The information sharing between the airline operators, regulators and the navigation service providers is a key aspect in reducing incidents such as runway incursions, communication mismatch and clearance errors. Through the sharing of the safety information, the aviation industry will be able to identify the potential threats for accidents and serious incidents and prevent their occurrence in future. This approach is based on the integrated analysis of the safety reports and the corrective actions developed on time to address identified safety issues1

Safety Data management and analysis (SDMA)

The activities of SDMA are a part of the IATA's safety program. These data provides the members with a wealth of safety information to identify trends and areas of potential concern such as the repeated operational incidents. These analysis reports give both IATA and the participants a overview of the industry performance and standards

Safety Management system

A systematic approach developed to manage the safety, including organizational structure, policies, and procedures is the safety management system. The service providers are responsible for establishing a safety management system within the organization. The service providers include the aircraft operators, approved maintenance organizations, organizations responsible for manufacturing of aircrafts, air traffic service providers and the airports

The safety management system involves

  • Identifying the safety hazards
  • The implementation of remedial action which is at an acceptable level of safety.
  • Continuous monitoring and regular assessment of the safety levels achieved.
  • Making continuous improvements to the overall level of safety.


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) being an international standard setting body for the aviation industry, offers a range of auditing programs to ensure top level of operational efficiency and safety in the work environment. There are two types of safety audits performed by IATA namely

  • International Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)
  • International Safety Audit for Ground operations (ISAGO)

International Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)

The IOSA is an internationally recognized and accepted program designed to assess the operational management of the aviation organizations.

The benefits of implementing an IOSA program for the airlines and regulators are

  • A reduction of costs and audit resource requirements for airlines and regulators
  • Continuous updating of standards to reflect regulatory revisions and the evolution of best practices within the industry
  • A quality audit program under the continuing stewardship of IATA
  • Accredited audit organizations with formally trained and qualified auditors
  • Accredited training organizations with structured auditor training courses
  • A structured audit methodology, including standardized checklists
  • Elimination of audit redundancy through mutual acceptance of audit reports
  • Development of auditor training courses for the airline industry

International Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO)

The ISAGO is implemented by IATA for ground operations, which aims at improving the safety and cut airline costs by reducing the ground operation injuries and equipment damage due to human errors in ground handling. While the airlines around the world have similar operational practices, the things are more complicated for the ground handlers who cover a wide range of activities from passenger and baggage handling, load control, cargo handling etc. With regards to the diverse range of ground handling services, the ISAGO is developed with the standards and policies that are applicable to all ground handling organizations worldwide. Thus the ISAGO can be applied to the multi national ground handlers as well as smaller ground handling companies in a particular station

The benefits of implementing a ISAGO program are,

  • Improved safety in ground operations with less injuries and accidents.
  • The redundant airline audits are being eliminated.
  • The costs involved in reworking a particular operation are being reduced as the accidents are reduced.
  • The operating standards of the organization are improved.
  • The audit programs provide an enhanced level of understanding of the high risk areas in ground handling operations such that the future errors can be eliminated.
1. IATA (2011). Six point safety program. Retrieved from International Air Transport Association on 27 October 2011.

Contributors to this page

Authors / Editors

Gokul KrishnanGokul Krishnan

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