The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) defines safety oversight as a function performed by a State to ensure that individuals and organizations performing an aviation activity comply with safety-related national laws and regulations. It is an essential part of the safety regulatory process that ensures that applicable safety regulatory requirements are met and monitors the safe provision of services. It is the State’s responsibility to regulate the safety of its national aviation systems. Critical Elements (CE’s) of a State’s Safety Oversight System as defined in ICAO Document 9734-A. These elements may be summarised as:
- Primary Aviation Legislation
- Specific operating regulations
- State system functions
- Qualified technical personnel
- Technical guidance tools and provisions of safety-critical info
- Licencing, certification, authorization and approval obligations
- Surveillance obligations
- Resolution of safety issues
ICAO carries out audits and has an ICAO USOAP audit checklist. There are 8 different audit areas – primary aviation legislation and civil aviation regulations, civil aviation organization, personnel licensing and training, aircraft operations, airworthiness of aircraft, aircraft accident, and incident aviation, air navigation services, aerodromes and ground aids.
COMPONENTS OF SAFETY OVERSIGHT SYSTEM
The generic components of the safety oversight system are –
- Monitoring of safety performance
- Verifying compliance with applicable safety regulatory requirements
- Safety regulatory auditing
- Oversight of new or changed systems, operations, products or procedures
- Publication of regulatory instructions
- Generation and maintenance of safety oversight records
- Aircraft Maintenance Manual
TRANSITION OF USOAP
The transition of USAOP to Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA) was held in 2011-2012 and was implemented in January 2013. The USOAP-CMA enhances the state’s oversight and safety management capabilities by the following 4 components :
- Collection of safety information – It is provided by States, internal stakeholders, and external stakeholders.
- Determination of Safety risk profile – It is determined by safety risk factors, safety risk indicators, and safety risk profile
- Prioritization and conduct of USOAP CMA activities – States are prioritized by MO, based on their safety risk profile taking into consideration the approved budget and resources available.
- Update of LEI and status of SSCs – A Mandatory Information Request (MIR) can be issued by MO according to the circumstances. A MIR can lead to a finding or even a Significant Safety Concern (SSC). SSC occurs when the audited State allows the holder of an authorization or approval to exercise the privileges attached to it, although the minimum requirements established by the state and by the standards set forth in the annexes to the Chicago Convention are not met, resulting in an immediate safety risk to international civil aviation.
CMA ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The MO Section is responsible for managing the overall development, implementation, and quality of the USOAP CMA. the ICAO regional offices are involved in the continuous monitoring process. They facilitate active communication between ICAO headquarters and States. The ICAO Member states facilitate USOAP CMA onsite activities by making appropriate staff from its Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), or other relevant entities, available for interview by the USOAP CMA mission team, as required. They also secure adequate resources to fulfill all the conditions of the aviation audit checklist.