Safety Management Systems for Airports

The AAAE Regulatory Affairs staff continues to track the progress of FAA’s efforts to introduce Safety Management Systems (SMS) at Part 139 certificated airports. The FAA is currently adjudicating industry comments that were submitted last July, and a final rule is expected in Spring 2013.

Draft AC

Draft Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5200-37A, Safety Management Systems for Airports is intended to help airports develop an explicit, pro-active, and engaged process for identifying and quantifying potential hazards and risks and for managing them in a systematically coherent, logical, and reasonable way. The AC applies to all civil airports, and is meant to be adapted to work for the size and level of resources available for each airport. The focus is primarily on operational safety in the airport environment, but airports are encouraged to apply the principles in other areas of business as well.  You may view the complete text of AAAE’s comments below.
AAAE SMS Comments
(Adobe PDF File)

ACRP Report: Lessons Learned from Airport Safety Management Systems Pilot Studies

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 37: Lessons Learned from Airport Safety Management Systems Pilot Studies provides airport operators with data and experience from safety management system (SMS) pilot study airports. The report addresses SMS pilot study program management; SMS components design, development, and deployment; and SMS challenges and benefits.

In simple terms, SMS is a proactive business approach to managing and mitigating potential hazards within the organization to improve safety performance. SMS is comprised of four components (or pillars), including safety policy, safety risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion.

Project: Project Information
Project Number: 11-03/Topic S04-07
E-Newsletter Type: Recently Released TRB Publications
TRB Publication Type: ACRP Synthesis Report


FAA Internal Order 5200.11 requires that airports conduct SRAs for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funded projects. SRAs are currently included in the FAA Office of Airports (ARP) approval process for airside-related projects. Currently the FAA Order 5200.11 pertains only to large hub airports; however, ARP plans to apply this requirement to all Part 139 airports as soon as sufficient FAA staff is trained and available to support the expanded initiative. ARP has provided guidance for the new SRM requirement within Order 5200.11.

Under FAA Advisory Circular 150/5370-2F, which sets forth guidelines for operational safety on airports during construction, certain airport projects may require the airport operator to provide a Project Proposal Summary to help the FAA to determine the appropriate level of SRM documentation. The airport operator must coordinate with the appropriate FAA Airports Regional or District Office early in the development of a Construction Safety and Phasing Plan (CSPP) to determine the need for SRM documentation.