What is a management system?

Every organisation has a management system. It’s just the way that the organisation is run and decides what to do.

Consider a very simple organisation like two guys with a van who move furniture. One of them will be in charge (the ‘gaffer’) and the other will do what he’s told (the ‘mate’). That’s a management system.

A more complex organisation, like a large company, will have a more complex system with many different managers with different responsibilities and reporting lines. They’ll have scheduled meetings, financial reports, HR policies etc. All of these things are components of the management system.

The European regulations for air operations and aircrew require operators and organisation to have a particular type of management system incorporating a number of different elements.

What are the management system requirements for air operations and aircrew organisations?

The European legislators took the view that aircraft operators and aircrew training organisations need to include certain components in their management system. The objective is to make sure that the organisations are well enough run that they can operate safely without the authorities having to check on what they are doing all the time. The basic elements of a management system that complies with the requirements are as follows:

  1. Clearly defined lines of responsibility and accountability;

  2. A safety policy;

  3. A process to identify safety hazards and manage the associated risks;

  4. Trained, competent personnel;

  5. Documentation of all key processes;

  6. A compliance monitoring system

What organisations do the requirements apply to?

European regulations require the following organisations to have a management system that includes safety management:

  • All professional pilot training organisations regardless of whether they operate aircraft;

  • Commercial air transport operators (e.g. airlines and charter companies);

  • Non-commercial aircraft operators of ‘complex motor-powered aircraft’ (e.g. corporate aircraft operators);

  • Commercial specialised operators and non-commercial specialised operators using ‘complex motor-powered aircraft’ (‘aerial work’);

  • Air Traffic Control providers;

  • Airports.

Flying schools that only train for non-professional licences can adopt a simplified version of the requirement. Rules for aircraft designers, manufacturers and maintenance organisations are still under development.

Why would I implement a management system like this?

If you are an aircraft operator or a pilot-training organisation then there are two compelling reasons to implement these management system requirements:

  • Because the regulations say you have to, but more importantly

  • Because this is a great way to run a company!

Properly implemented the management system requirements mean that everybody in an organisation knows what they are responsible for, how to do it and finds out quickly if they’re not doing it properly; the management have decided what level of safety is acceptable and monitors whether they are achieving it (would you fly with an airline that hadn’t established an acceptable safety level?). Implementing an effective management system will not only mean that you comply with the requirements but can also make your company more successful (we can show you how!).