Flight Options, FAA Partner On Safety Management System

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Flight Options, the Raytheon Company's fractional ownership operation, said yesterday the FAA selected it to partner and participate in the “proof of concept” phase of the development and implementation of a formal Safety Management System (SMS) for all air service providers. Flight Options added that it is the only fractional operator -- and the largest of only nine aviation service providers nationwide -- to participate in the FAA program. According to the company, an SMS program is designed to incorporate proven quality and management principles into the practice of safety and involves line management, safety expertise and employee engagement to produce a healthy safety culture in every aspect of the business. A formal FAA-accepted SMS program is expected to become a regulatory requirement for all air carriers by 2009, Flight Options said. To implement this model, the FAA reached out to industry leaders to help define, implement and validate the model SMS. Implementing a formal SMS will integrate safety best practices throughout the organization.

“With a robust safety management program supported by a dedicated safety department, Flight Options has worked continuously to build its position as an industry leader in safety,” said Chuck Starkey, vice president of safety and security, Flight Options, LLC. “Partnering with the FAA to develop a formal SMS gives us the opportunity not only to improve our program, but also to leverage our experience and help build the model program for the rest of the air transportation industry.” In a November address to nearly 500 aviation industry leaders from the United States and around the world, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey highlighted the importance of SMS in continuing to improve the industry’s safety record. Flight Options may be uniquely situated to participate in the FAA's SMS development program: It says it was the first and only fractional provider to receive the prestigious ARG/US Platinum Safety Rating three consecutive times.