Alexandria, VA, January 5, 2012 - The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is pleased to present a ground-breaking audit standard specifically for FBOs. NATA established the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Standard to promote industry best practices and Safety Management Systems (SMS) development among ground handling providers in response to member requests for a safety standard and rating for FBOs. This audit standard is the first published audit for FBOs and other ground-handling service providers.

"NATA members expressed concern that their companies are subject to numerous audits by charter operators, fractional ownership program managers and many other consumers," said NATA Safety 1st Program Manager Elizabeth Nicholson. "The preparation and hosting of these audits drains both staff time and resources to accommodate the various audits, which range in complexity from completing and returning an electronic self-audit form to a multi-day on-site audit. The requirements of the auditing companies vary greatly, making preparation for the audits a year-round necessity."

NATA's Safety & Security Committee, which includes representatives from large and small FBOs, on-demand charter operators, fractional program managers, insurance brokers, fuel companies, and more, was instrumental in drafting this important new audit standard.

Objectives of the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Standard: 

  • Achieve a standardized and consistent audit product acceptable to on-demand air charter operators, business aircraft operators, and other ground handling facility users
  • Develop a program similar in concept to that currently utilized by airline ground handling facilities
  • Follow an ISO-compliant format
  • Create one audit standard to satisfy operators, customers, and others by including:
    • Best practices
    • Safety Management Systems (FAA and ICAO standards
    • Regulatory compliance (TSA, EPA, and OSHA)
  • Eliminate the need for multiple audits from numerous aircraft operators by providing consistent audits
  • Maintain online registry to confirm successful completion

"NATA Safety 1st is the industry-known leader in FBO safety and training programs. It became clear to us that a single standard for FBOs could eliminate the burden of multiple audits and raise the standard of safety throughout the FBO industry," said NATA President and CEO James K. Coyne.

Find out more about NATA's Safety 1st Ground Audit by visiting

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NATA, the voice of aviation business, is the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.