NATA And IBAC To Launch Global Ground-handling Standard

May 20, 2014
The International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling will provide standardization to handlers and operators around the world to meet the coming SMS requirements from the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Alexandria, VA, May 20, 2014 – The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) will announce Wednesday, 21 May, in Geneva the creation of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH), a set of global industry best practices for business aviation ground handlers that features at its core a safety management system (SMS). The IS-BAH follows the long established structure of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) Program and incorporates the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Program.  As one global industry code of best practices, IS-BAH will provide standardization to handlers and operators around the world to meet the coming SMS requirements from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

“We are pleased to have created a truly worldwide ground-handling standard with NATA,” said Kurt Edwards, Director General of IBAC.  “From conversations with handlers and operators and based on our experience with IS-BAO, we see great benefits for the business aviation community from an enhanced safety culture and a more standardized, predictable set of practices at airports around the world.”

Modeled on the successful IS-BAO, IS-BAH has a central SMS component and similar program content, voluntary registration process, auditor credentialing, and audit approval process.  The program also features a manual and fully integrated implementation guide, and IBAC will provide around the world workshops on the fundamentals of and auditing for IS-BAH.  IBAC and NATA will establish a Standards Board of ground-handling industry leaders and experts to assess and revise the standard annually.  The IS-BAH will be managed by IBAC under the guidance of the IS-BAO Program Director.

“Global standards for SMS and the handling of business and general aviation aircraft are vital to the success of our industry,” said NATA President and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks. “NATA’s long-term partnership with IBAC will help ensure that IS-BAH is truly a global standard for safety.”

IS-BAH is the result of more than two years of development first suggested by the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA).  IBAC and NATA have subsequently entered into a long-term working agreement that allows NATA’s Safety 1st Ground Audit Program to be incorporated into a broader, global standard. 

“Announcing the launch of IS-BAH at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition is particularly appropriate, as EBAA were the initial advocates for and the very vocal voice behind the development of IS-BAH,” said Edwards.

The SMS component allows IS-BAH-registered handlers and fixed-based operators (FBO) to gain recognition by their customers, particularly operators, for having in place a well-founded safety management development process.  Maturity of a handler’s or FBO’s SMS is a critical factor in the long-term recognition of the use of industry best practices that conform to ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS).

IBAC aims to make the IS-BAH Manual and Implementation Guide available from July 1, 2014, pending final approval by the IBAC Governing Board later this week. 

For more information on IS-BAH, please contact Jim Cannon, IS-BAO Program Director, at [email protected], or Michael France, Director, Safety & Training, NATA, at [email protected]

Interested organizations may also go to the IBAC website,, or the NATA website,, for further information or contact their local business aviation association that is a member of IBAC.