I’ll adopt IS-BAH when I see the rest of the industry do so first.” -Anonymous

Not exactly the statement of a leader, eh?

Shortly after Douglas Commercial Aircraft launched the DC-3 in 1935, its older sibling was all but forgotten. Sure, the DC-2 was a good plane, but it wasn’t good enough. Improvements needed to be made, and externally to most, the DC-2 and DC-3 were nearly identical. Yet, the little changes between the two made a big difference, and the DC-3 stood the test of time. IS-BAH for your FBO isn’t all that different: Little changes can be the difference between longevity and ending up forgotten.

If you’re waiting around for the rest of the industry to adopt IS-BAH first, what message is your FBO sending?

International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH)

With the arrival of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling, or IS-BAH, the benchmark for best practices in the FBO industry has arrived. Thoughtfully created by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), IS-BAH is “a set of global industry best practices for business aviation ground handlers that features at its core a Safety Management System (SMS)…and incorporates the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Program.” (http://www.ibac.org/is_bah)

In short, IS-BAH aligns an FBO’s operational policies, procedures and practices with the doctrines of a Safety Management System (SMS). In doing so, it safely transitions an FBO away from tribal knowledge, without losing the knowledge part. Moreover, the reality is many FBOs nearly qualify for the IS-BAH standard, without even knowing it. How?

Most if not all FBOs have some form of policy or procedures manual already in place. Whether a brief checklist that reminds employees to perform certain daily tasks, or a three-ring binder bursting with Standard Operating Procedures, the common theme is some form of documentation exists. In addition to these existing written procedures, there are a great many operational tasks at the FBO level that are performed via tribal knowledge- unwritten, yet passed down from more senior employees to new hires. In many cases, despite a lack of formal documentation, such tasks are still carried out faithfully. It is the sum of these procedures, both written and tribal, that are the earliest starting point for IS-BAH implementation.

Some basic industry best practices aside, IS-BAH actually does not foist upon an FBO an alarming series of practices an FBO cannot abide by. Though nuanced, IS-BAH is not about an FBO being compliant with an IS-BAH standard. IBAC is merely asking that for an FBO to achieve the IS-BAH standard, the FBO must publish and hold itself accountable to its own policies and procedures, and that such policies and procedures conform to the industry best practice provided in the IS-BAH manual. Sound confusing? It isn’t.
Said another way, IS-BAH helps an FBO document one of the most basic elements of human loyalty: If you say you’re going to do something, follow through with action that demonstrates it.
Let’s be clear: Accidents don’t simply happen- they are caused. However, in the wake of the accident, the actual procedural changes enacted by the FBO are often reactionary and seldom address the root cause. Like aircraft accidents, ground handling accidents tend towards the human element, and begin from a series of seemingly unrelated events. And, with the rare exception willful misconduct, “the employee failed to follow the procedure and the accident occurred” is seldom, if ever, the root cause. Such oversimplified conclusions can demoralize an employee group and in many cases, damage the very safety culture of an FBO, actually setting the stage for the next accident.

The goal of course is to prevent the accident in the first place. And that’s why incorporating a Safety Management System (SMS) is a core tenet of IS-BAH: It creates a path for an FBO to move its hazard identification from one that it reactive to one that is proactive, and ultimately, predictive. The SMS element of IS-BAH gives FBOs the tools to move from simply reacting to accidents, to predicting- and stopping them- before they happen.

IS-BAH Implementation and Auditing Services

As an IBAC accredited IS-BAH Auditor, FBO Partners provides implementation services to FBOs interested in becoming IS-BAH certified, or auditing services for those FBOs ready for their IS-BAH certification.

IS-BAH Implementation

Interested in seeking your IS-BAH certification but need a trusted partner to help? Let us be your IS-BAH implementation partner. From SMS guidance, to manual creation, to ad hoc policy or procedures creation, our professional approach creates a path for your FBO to IS-BAH certification that is neither overwhelming nor costly. Moreover, FBO Partners’ accredited auditor Douglas Wilson brings a unique credential to the implementation process: Once the Corporate Training Manager for the largest FBO network in the world, he authored the training manuals, materials and standard operating procedures for the entire network, both domestically and abroad. If authoring your FBOs policies or procedures doesn’t come naturally to your FBO, we can help. After all, we literally wrote the book.

IS-BAH Auditing Services

The auditing process for IS-BAH is unlike most audits for an FBO- because you tell us when you’re ready. The goal of an audit isn’t to catch an FBO doing something wrong- it is to document what they are doing right. And, because IS-BAH is about conformity as opposed to compliance, a minor non-conformity isn’t a failed audit but a learning opportunity. From a process standpoint, an IS-BAH audit begins well before the onsite visit most closely associated with audits. An initial document request is the first step to ensure the FBO’s written policies and procedures conform to the IS-BAH manual. Upon verification of conformance, the site visit follows. Typically lasting 2-3 days depending on an FBO’s size, the onsite portion of the audit includes an introduction meeting, direct observation, interviews and more. A closing meeting with initial review of findings follows, and an audit report is provided. Interested in working with an auditor that wants your FBO to be its best, not just collect an audit fee?

And the answer is: “Things Sheep Say”

If you think ‘What IS-BAH?’ is the correct response to this Jeopardy topic, it may be time to talk to FBO Partners.

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