Quick to avoid getting into a conflict with the ACSF, Perfetti nevertheless pointed out that IBAC “isn't trying to sell [commercial operators] anything, but IS-BAO is a means of compliance [with the ICAO SMS requirement] for operators. Thus, it is a benefit for them to comply and also carries a safety benefit. Compliance is a driver right now for many operators to meet the ICAO requirement, but there are still very many benefits to be derived from IS-BAO registration.”

She added, “We've had requests from operators to consolidate the various standards, and we would be interested in working toward that goal.”

Currently, about 200 operators of all stripes are fully registered in the IS-BAO program. Probably about 20 of them are commercial operators. Hundreds more have purchased the materials and are engaged in preparation. About 900 manuals are in distribution with operators, institutions and auditors. “It will grow on the commercial side because of the SMS requirement and especially due to the CEN recognition,” Perfetti said. “Operators also see an advantage from the marketing side. We are the ‘gold standard.’

“The third-party auditing standards [i.e., companies like Wyvern/CharterX and ARGUS] have been around for awhile, but we are working from the inside out - this is an industry standard developed by the industry. It was beta-tested for two years and introduced in 2002. It has been improved every year, and every year we send out a free update to every manual holder. We are a non-profit organization, and the whole purpose of the program is to raise the safety bar. We do charge for the manual, $950 for a member of an IBAC organization and $1,400 for a nonmember; however, those costs go directly to fund the program. The operator negotiates directly with the auditor for the audit. We have a little over a hundred auditors on our rolls, a large number because we need to provide worldwide coverage.” It should be noted that many auditors approved for the ACSF program are likewise endorsed by IS-BAO to conduct audits for that program.

In delineating IS-BAO's attributes, Doug Carr, NBAA vice president, safety and security, noted, it “is updated annually by a panel of safety experts, and those results are released to all IS-BAO participants. The program is scalable, from single aircraft operators to major flight departments. Third, your regulatory basis is not exclusionary: IS-BAO is designed to work within your regulatory framework, whether it's Part 91/91K, Part 135 or even Part 121. And finally, this has more international recognition than any other program I'm aware of: ICAO, CEN, U.K. Overseas Territories. So if you're looking for a program that has worldwide recognition, only IS-BAO offers you that.”