In this post, we explain the steps to follow and the necessary technological tools needed for an air operator to reach the IOSA certification and for a successful management of the audits.
IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) is a certification standard for airlines created by the IATA, International Air Transport Association. IATA promotes the use of the IOSA as a global standard to support the surveillance of safety.
IOSA is an internationally known and accepted evaluation system, designed to evaluate the management of the operational and control systems of an airline. All IATA members are registered in IOSA, and they must be registered in order to maintain their membership.
Why is it important to certify an air operator with the IOSA certification
IOSA is the airline certification standard par excellence. It demands the compliance of other requirements in international regulations and standards.
The total accident rate of IOSA airlines between 2011 and 2015 was 3 times lower than air operators that were not certified with IOSA. Therefore, the IOSA certification has become a global standard, well-known beyond IATA membership. In March 2015, 145 (36%) of the 405 airlines in the IOSA registry were airlines that were not IATA members.
What is achieved by an air operator when it has an IOSA certification
With the implementation and international acceptance of the IOSA certification, the air operators achieve:
- Access to quality auditing programs under the IATA direction.
- The use of standardized checklists and a structured auditing methodology.
- Improvement in operational safety.
- Reduction in the audits between operators as once there is known that an operator is an IATA member, the confidence on this operator increases and this membership is seen as a compliance guarantee.
- Significant reductions in costs and resources needed for audits of airlines and regulatory bodies.
- Access to a public documental system of requirements and manuals that should be applied during the certification process.
- Continuously updated regulations that show the regulatory revisions and the evolution of the best practices among the industry.
- Audits performed by IATA certified organisms with formally trained and qualified auditors.
- Training credentials with courses for auditors.
IATA only have 8 certifying entities all over the world. In order for an air operator to be certified in IOSA, it is necessary to contact them and prepare the certification audit. Usually, there are five auditors that check compliance during five days in the air operator facilities.
Afterward, they send a report with the results of the audit. After receiving this report, the company has one year to fix the non-compliances that are listed in it. Once solved, IATA generates a confidential report in which the IOSA certification of the company is approved. Other companies that want to hire the certified operator services, can ask for this document as a compliance guarantee.
How an IOSA audit is prepared inside an organization
The internal processes associated with an IOSA audit are very similar to those associated with an ISO 9001 audit. The steps below are followed:
- Appointment of the person responsible for the certification.
- Creation and use of a checklist to verify which requirements are necessary to obtain the certification and are not met within the company (gap analysis).
- Incorporation, in the manuals and procedures of the company, of the requirements that are not met.
- Implementation of the requirements in the operations of the company.
- Performance of internal audits and inspections to ensure that the implementation has been done successfully.
- Contact with the IOSA auditor team chosen to carry out the audit.
Software for the IOSA audit within an air operator
Air operators face multiple difficulties to control the requirements of different regulations and standards, generated by different organizations among which we find IATA with the IOSA certification.
There are still many air operators that do not have a support software to improve the audit‘s management, which signifies a clear disadvantage in efficiency when compared with other operators that have this kind of systems.
For an air operator, the automatization of audit systems as much as possible is of vital importance, since doing so will significantly reduce the time and resources devoted to tasks.
A software for quality and compliance monitoring in air operators provides a continuous surveillance of the system to guarantee the compliance of the manuals and of the applicable standards and regulations. There are softwares that allow you to perform a systematic and independent analysis of the processes and systems to verify if the IOSA requirements are effectively and appropriately introduced.
When an air operator has the IOSA certification, besides having to comply with the regulations and standards, it must show its compliance to the authorities, a task that is greatly simplified if the correct software is used. To have an integrated solution to successfully comply with the increasing requirements of IOSA and other standards is key for any airline. It reduces the investment of resources related to quality and compliance monitoring that, when there is not an effective management system, could be quite high. Software solutions like SICOMO serve as promoters of new levels of productivity, regulatory compliance, reduced costs and effective management of quality and compliance monitoring in airlines.
If you want to know more about how to certify an air operator with EASA, IOSA certification and what tools are available to successfully manage the audits, we invite you to subscribe to the EASA Quality Compliance Newsletter.