FAA Proposes Rulemaking to Further Enhance Airport Safety

July 12, 2016

On July 12, the FAA published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) for safety management systems (SMS) in the airport area. SMS is a formal approach to managing an organization's safety through four key components – safety policy, safety risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion. Through the SNPRM, the FAA proposes to integrate proactive hazard identification and risk-management based principles into the day-to-day operations at airports.

The supplemental proposal amends the number of airports that would be required to implement the program. The SNPRM proposes SMS at any Part 139 certificated airport that is:

Classified as a small, medium, or large hub airport in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems;


Identified by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection as a port of entry, designated international airport, landing rights airport, or user fee airport;


Identified as having more than 100,000 total annual operations which includes takeoffs and landings.

The original NPRM required all Part 139 airports to participate in SMS. Based on the numerous industry comments received, the FAA decided to amend the original proposal to instead apply it to certificated airports receiving the vast majority of passenger enplanements, operations, and international service. The original proposal would have applied to more than 500 certificated airports. The revised proposal would apply to approximately 260 airports. The industry will have 60 days to comment on the revised changes and other requirements proposed in the SNPRM. The comment period ends on September 12, 2016.

Read more about SMS in the FAA Fact Sheet.