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FAA Proposes New Rules to Enhance Airport Safety

FAA Proposes New Rules to Enhance Airport SafetyOn July 12, the FAA published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) for safety management systems (SMS) for airports. Here’s what you should know, courtesy of disciplesofflight.com.

SMS is the FAA’s formal approach to managing an organization's safety through four key components: safety policy, safety risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion. It’s the FAA’s aim, through uses of SMS, to start bringing more proactive hazard identification and risk management principles into use during the standard, day-to-day airport operations, and increase overall airport safety.

The FAA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on October 7, 2010. They received many helpful comments and decided to modify its original proposal and provide another opportunity for public comment. The new Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) was published on July 14, 2016.

The proposed supplement will adjust the number of airports across the nation that will be required to start integrating an SMS program.

SMS now required at Part 139 airports

According to the new supplement, SMS will now be required at any Part 139 certificated airport that meets the following requirements:

1. The airport is classified as a small, medium or large hub airport, according to its listing in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems.

2. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) identifies the airport as a port of entry, designated international airport, user-fee airport (an airport approved by Customs to use the services of a Customs officer to process the passengers and cargo of aircraft entering the US) or landing rights airport (any airport other than international or user-fee airports at which Customs gives foreign flights permission to land).

3. The airport is identified as having more than 100,000 total operations annually, which would include take-offs and landings.

Proposal amended so less airports affected

The FAA’s original Notice of Proposed Rulemaking required that all Part 139 airports participate in SMS, which would have totaled more than 500 airports. But after reviewing input and comments from the aviation industry, the FAA amended the original proposal.

Now, according to the SNPRM, SMS processes need to be adopted at any Part 139-certified airport that is considered a small, medium, or large hub airport in the national plan of integrated airport systems, or has more than 100,000 total annual operations including arrivals and departures.

It should also be implemented at airports identified by the CBP as a port of entry, or a designated international, landing rights or user-fee airport. Approximately 260 airports fall under the new SNPRM.

There will be a 60-day period for commenting on the changes and other requirements found in the supplement. The FAA will accept comments on the Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking through September 12, 2016 at www.regulations.gov.

For more information, read the FAA’s official announcement, and the FAA’s Office of Airports Safety Management System Efforts fact sheet.

Also view the Safety Management System for Certificated Airports at federalregister.gov.

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