No bah humbug for IS-BAH


When I start to mention standards and audits, I expect many of you will have already decided to stop reading this.

But while standards and audits aren’t always the most interesting of topics, they can serve an important purpose. And contrary to popular belief, they are not always designed to make our lives worse. Sometimes they are put in place to make things easier and safer for all of us.

In May 2014, during EBACE, the International Business Aviation Council announced new standards for business aircraft handling called The International Standard of Business Aircraft Handling (or IS-BAH for short).

The reason is simple to understand. Most operators’ Safety Management Systems (SMS) involve a yearly audit of each of the FBOs and ground handlers that they visit. Although some of the auditing is fairly common, each operator has their own set of standards that need to be met.

For an operator like NetJets who visit upwards of 800 airports (although not every year), it’s easy to see how this is a mammoth task. And for larger airports that see multiple visits from multiple operators, it’s easy to see how having a single set of common standards would be a lot less time consuming than ensuring they comply with multiple standards that only differ slightly between different operators.

Good ground handling standards is also clearly good news for aircraft owners, financiers and insurers.

This is where IS-BAH comes in. It been designed as a common set of best practices for use by business aircraft handlers.

Although still in its early stages, this week’s workshop and launch event by EBAA at Paris Le Bourget Airport attracted around 70 people. The fact that so many people attended when the concept was only introduced in May can be seen as an early sign that Europe’s major business aviation companies are ready to buy into it.

A strong turnout is also expected in Atlanta next month for the next IS-BAH workshop. Common standards do make sense, so let’s wish IS-BAH every bit of success.

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