The International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) program was launched in 2002 by The International Business Aircraft Council (IBAC) and its member organizations, including NBAA, to introduce standardized operating procedures and requirements to business aircraft operators. IS-BAO provides a comprehensive, internationally recognized baseline standard of best practices for organizing, staffing, and conducting business flying operations. Find out more at

Flight departments or operators that choose to adopt IS-BAO have the option of having the company registered with IBAC as IS-BAO conforming, subject to completion of an audit by an accredited third-party IS-BAO auditor. Registration is voluntary, but it provides many benefits including confirming to company management, insurance companies, and regulators that operations are being conducted in conformity with an internationally accepted set of best practice standards. An IBAC Certificate of Registration is provided upon completion of the audit.

At the core of IS-BAO is a scalable Safety Management System (SMS) model that can be used by all types of operators, from single-aircraft/single-pilot operations all the way up to large multi-aircraft flight departments. The bottom line is that IS-BAO is a great way, and many have concluded the best way, to implement an SMS. Getting started is easy. Just contact us at Advanced Aircrew Academy using the Contact Us link to the left, or contact our IS-BAO accredited auditor, Jim Weaver, directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information on IS-BAO training requirements, download the IS-BAO Training white paper below.

Implementation Overview

Advanced Aircrew Academy recommends organizing the "getting it done" subject into three parts. Both an IS-BAO and a stand-alone SMS implementation can be a major undertaking. As you think about the decision to get started, we hope this overview is helpful.

Initial Phase

Includes decision-maker buy in, getting educated on IS-BAO and SMS, initial assessments of where you are now, scoping the work, including time, people resources, and cost.

Implementation Phase

Includes developing an implementation plan, creating timelines, assigning tasks, doing the work, and performing interim assessments.

Final Phase

Includes completing the work, performing final assessments, and scheduling and completing a registration audit or other sign-off.

Total Time

Can be several months; can be a year or more. It is totally situational and based on where are you now versus where you need to be. There are good tools, such as the IS-BAO SMS Gap Analysis, for helping to answer some of these questions. You will learn more about the time required as you move through the initial phase.


Again, the answer is largely situational. Trade-offs include how much of the process you are able to do yourself versus how much help you need from an International Standard Support Services Affiliate (I3SA) organization such as Advanced Aircrew Academy.

Getting Started

In addition to developing the Standard, IBAC also developed a comprehensive SMS Toolkit that provides guidance, forms, and background material on implementing and maintaining an SMS. The Toolkit is designed to assist operators in developing an SMS that meets ICAO standards and worldwide safety regulations. While the Toolkit is available for purchase as a stand-alone product, operators that elect to order the complete IS-BAO package will receive a complimentary copy.

A visit to will provide IS-BAO purchasing information and pricing, although the actual purchase of the IS-BAO is done from your national business aviation association; for example, NBAA in the U.S. Let us know here at Advanced Aircrew Academy if we can help you before, during, or after you have made a purchase decision.

Why Now?

Many Part 91, Part 135, and Part 91K fractional operators in the U.S. already have or are beginning the process of becoming IS-BAO registered or at least installing a stand-alone SMS. With U.S. regulatory requirements for the installation of an SMS already established for Part 121 operators, but still in the FAA development process for everybody else, why are so many large and small U.S. operators moving forward?

At the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual convention, a panel including four very different operators explained to an attentive audience the decision, the process, the costs, and the benefits of their individual IS-BAO registration experiences. Here is a partial list of why many have already made the decision:

Safety - The number one reason is because of the contribution of IS-BAO and its core SMS to improving safety. Everyone knows that accidents, incidents, and injuries are very costly, and most have concluded that they simply cannot afford the cost in either dollars or reputation.

Regulatory compliance - It is either here or it is coming. It is not a matter of if, but when, especially if you operate internationally.

Insurance costs - Operators in the U.S. have reported reductions in insurance costs because of IS-BAO registration of as much as 20%; more than enough, in the first year, to pay for the cost of obtaining IS-BAO registration.

Liability protection for owners and managers - IS-BAO registration is the Gold Standard, recognized worldwide. You will have demonstrated what you are proactively doing to ensure a safe operation.

Marketplace credibility - Whether your passengers are the executives of your company or brokered charter folks, your status as an IS-BAO registered operator will enhance your reputation and the confidence of the marketplace in your operation.

Rising costs - The longer you wait, the more it is likely to cost as the perceived value of IS-BAO status goes up and the lines get longer.


A Safety Management System (SMS) is basically an organization-wide, proactive, and documented approach to risk assessment and risk management. Beyond documentation, a successful SMS is an integrated, everyday part of the entire operation. There is a good deal of information available on SMS from sources such as IBAC and IS-BAO, the NBAA, and the FAA. On the FAA website, look for Advisory Circular 120-92B, "Introduction to Safety Management Systems for Air Operators" and FAA InFO 11010 which provide updates on FAA SMS developments.

SMS in the U.S. and worldwide are rapidly becoming a regulatory requirement, although the timing will be somewhat different depending on whether you are a Part 91 or a Part 135 operator. While the U.S. is somewhat behind some other countries in complying with the International Council of Aviation Organizations (ICAO) mandate, it will get there, with an SMS already required for PART 121 operators by 2018.

Getting educated about SMS will be one of the early implementation steps when you get started. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there and figuring out how to make sense of it and where to begin can be daunting. IS-BAO is a great way to deal with this, as it brings many benefits including an organized approach; but if it is not right for you, a stand-alone SMS implementation can also be done. Advanced Aircrew Academy can help you either way.