Likewise noting that many business aviation users seeking charter today are IS-BAO-registered flight departments, Katherine Perfetti, IBAC's standards manager, said that as a result the Council is seeing an increase of charter operators undergoing the IS-BAO process.

In conceiving the ISO-based standards program, she said IBAC purposely did not mirror the airlines' IOSA scheme as did the ACSF “because we wanted to build a standard that fit a wide variety of operators and missions, one that was scalable, from single-pilot operators to large operators flying international missions. We also wanted a program that will build a safety culture within the operation, wrapped around an SMS, the key to the program. The audit piece is really secondary, but the real heart of the program is the implementation of the SMS, which links to the other performance standards in the program.”

Perfetti said she doesn't believe that the ACSF understands IS-BAO or what performance-based rules are. “Theirs is a very prescriptive standard,” she said. “Performance-based rules require an understanding of the regulations and the aircraft under which you operate. It's not a one-size-fits-all mentality - that's the scalability I mentioned earlier. In the IS-BAO standard, you have to have a system to identify the rules and things that apply to your operation, whether you're a [Part] 91 or 91K operation or where you're operating.

It also covers every aspect of the operation, from the cleaning crews to how an aircraft is operated, Perfetti noted.

Then there's the issue of ICAO's requirement for commercial operators in its signatory states to have safety management systems.

“Annex 6, Part 2 allows the governments of signatory states to use an industry code of practice as a means of compliance, that is, IS-BAO,” Perfetti said.

And in Europe, EASA has stated it will accept a recognized industry code of practice as a means of compliance with the SMS requirement. Providing the stamp of approval to IS-BAO as an industry code of practice is CEN, the Comité Européen de Normalization, or European Committee for Standardization, the official standards-setting entity for the European Union which granted recognition to the program last August 2009. According to IBAC, the CEN endorsement will facilitate acceptance of IS-BAO in the upcoming EASA implementation rules.

“This was a multi-year process for us to achieve that - and no other standard has so far,” Perfetti observed. “The Euro recognition of IS-BAO is one of the reasons why many operators are pursuing registration in the program. We are continuing to work with governments around the world to educate them about the IS-BAO program, including the FAA, which so far has not endorsed any standard other than saying that they acknowledge that IS-BAO meets the ICAO Annex 6, Part 2 requirement.” (Perfetti is a former high-ranking FAA official.)