Get Ready for Risk-Based IOSA

Knowledge    /    February 11, 2024

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) program has been the gold standard for airline safety assessment for nearly two decades. However, IOSA is about to undergo a significant transformation with the introduction of Risk-Based IOSA.
From One-Size-Fits-All to Tailored Efficiency
The traditional IOSA program employed a “one-size-fits-all” approach, auditing airlines against a set of universal standards regardless of their individual risk profile. Risk-Based IOSA promises to take a more nuanced approach, tailoring the audit scope to each airline’s specific needs and vulnerabilities. This means focusing on areas where the potential for safety hazards is highest, leading to a more efficient and effective use of auditing resources.
Streamlined Efficiency: Key Benefits of Risk-Based IOSA for Airlines
IATA highlights several key benefits for airlines, including:

Reduced audit scope: By focusing on critical standards, airlines can save valuable time and resources.

Remote documentation review: This streamlines the audit process and minimizes disruptions to airline operations.

Maturity assessment: This approach goes beyond mere compliance, evaluating the effectiveness and maturity of an airline’s safety management systems (SMS) and operational practices.

Improved audit methods: Risk-Based IOSA utilizes new and improved audit techniques, such as sampling, for a more comprehensive assessment.

Enhanced reporting: The new audit reports will be more informative and actionable, providing airlines with valuable insights for continuous improvement.

Shorter onsite audit phase: Airlines can expect shorter and more focused onsite audits, minimizing disruption to their operations.

More than 80 IOSA-certified Airlines rely on iQSMS in their daily operation.

A Phased Approach: Taking Flight with Risk-Based IOSA in 2024
The transition to Risk-Based IOSA will be gradual, with 2024 serving as a transition year. Approximately 50% of audits will still be conducted using the traditional “classic” IOSA approach, while the other 50% will be conducted under the new Risk-Based IOSA framework. This phased approach allows airlines and audit organizations to adjust to the new system at a measured pace.
Beyond Compliance: The Focus on Maturity in Risk-Based IOSA
A key feature of Risk-Based IOSA is the Maturity Assessment. This assessment goes beyond simply checking for compliance with IOSA standards. Instead, it evaluates the maturity and effectiveness of an airline’s SMS and operational practices. The assessment uses a four-stage Maturity Stage Cycle:

Conformity: The airline meets the minimum requirements of the IOSA standards.

Established: The airline has implemented effective SMS and operational practices that go beyond the minimum requirements.

Mature: The airline consistently demonstrates excellence in safety management and operations.

Leading: The airline is a recognized leader in safety and innovation, setting the benchmark for the industry.

The Maturity Assessment is conducted through a combination of document review, interviews with personnel, and observation of operational practices. This holistic approach provides a deeper understanding of an airline’s safety culture and its ability to manage risks effectively.

Preparing for Success: How iQSMS Can Help Airlines Ace Risk-Based IOSA
At ASQS, we are committed to helping airlines navigate the changing landscape of aviation safety. Our iQSMS Quality Module is designed to support airlines in their transition to Risk-Based IOSA, providing the tools and resources they need to excel in the new audit environment.

Here’s what you can expect from iQSMS:

Compliance with both current and future IOSA standards: iQSMS remains compliant with the current IOSA ISM 16 and will be updated to reflect the new ISM 17 standards at release.

Maturity assessment capabilities: iQSMS can be used to track and measure an airline’s progress towards achieving higher levels of maturity in its SMS and operational practices.

For additional information, visit the risk-based IOSA website from IATA: