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Important Questions Related to Aviation Safety Management System

Aviation businesses usually have a strong compliance and process responsibility to uphold safety standards at all times. A Safety Management System plays a vital role in enabling organizations to keep their safety policies aligned with government guidelines and capture safety lapses much before they happen. 

Given the present circumstances in the aviation industry, it’s necessary to adopt an intrinsic approach to safety management. An Aviation Safety Management System (SMS) helps businesses of all sizes in achieving the same.

But before you get an SMS for your company, it is worth knowing some key questions associated with the same. 

What is a safety management system (SMS)?

A safety management system is a series of defined, organization-wide processes that provide for effective risk-based decisionmaking related to your daily business.

What are the key processes of an SMS?

  • Hazard Identification – a method for identifying hazards related to your organization.
  • Occurrence Reporting – a process for the acquisition of safety data; 
  • Risk Management – a standard approach for assessing risks and for applying risk controls;
  • Performance Measurement – management tools for analyzing whether the organization’s safety goals are being achieved; and
  • Quality/Safety Assurance – processes based on quality management principles that support continuous improvement of the organization’s safety performance.

What key qualities are evident in organizations with an effective SMS?

A top-down commitment from management and a personal commitment from all employees to achieve safety performance goals.

  • A clear roadmap of what the SMS is and what it is supposed to accomplish.
  • An established practice of open communication throughout the organization that is comprehensive and transparent, and where
  • necessary, non-punitive.
  • An organizational culture that continuously strives to improve.

What’s the difference between SMS and quality management systems (QMS)?

  • SMS focuses on the safety aspects of the organization. QMS focuses on the services and products of the organization.
  • While QMS focuses on conformity, SMS focuses on hazards. Both
  • non-conformities and hazards can impact safety.
  • Both systems enhance safety and are essential and complementary management tools. You cannot have an effective SMS without applying quality management principles.

Does SMS include Aircraft Maintenance Manual?

Depending upon the design of the SMS, the system can have the AMM as a part of the process. Some systems integrate various branches of the SMM into other processes such as maintenance. 


Implementing a fully IATA compliant SMS can be an uphill task. AAI provides focussed services for designing SMS for aviation companies and executing the entire process. Get in touch for more information or visit our consulting page.  


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