FAA Completes Rule to Increase Safety at Airports

A view of the 1940 Air Terminal Museum in Houston, Texas, in April 2017. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

WASHINGTON – A new rule from the Federal Aviation Administration will help airports detect and mitigate safety problems before they result in accidents or incidents. The final rule requires certain airports to develop and implement a safety management system (SMS).

“The safe operation of our nation’s airports is paramount during these historic times in aviation as we work to repair and construct necessary airport infrastructure,” said associate Administrator for Airports Shannetta R. Griffin, P.E. “This rule promotes safety and allows airports to work collaboratively with partners to mitigate risks and  avert accidents.”

The use of SMS programs by commercial airlines and many manufacturers helped foster the safest era in commercial aviation history. Fundamental to the program is identifying risks and then taking steps to correct potential safety issues before they result in accidents or incidents.

The final rule applies to more than 200 of America’s busiest commercial airports. The timeline to fully implement SMS ranges from four to five and a half years depending on the airports’ classification and operations.

The rule takes effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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