IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)


Last update : 3-7-2023

In aviation, IOSA stands for an IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) a globally recognized industry standard for promoting and ensuring airline operational safety, the official launch date for IOSA was 1 July 2003. IOSA was established as part of the IATA safety strategy for the year of 2000 onward. 


According to the initiatives and proposals in the year 2006, when the IOSA Audit program reached the digital maturity stage after couples of years, it can focus on risk-based auditing that meets the industry's needs for competencies and ensures the integrity of the audit process sustainably. 


In this article, I will give you a summary of the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) Program.



- Providing a standardized and cost-effective audit program built on internationally recognized standards.

- Structuring a new system of audit sharing

- Helping Airlines improve operational safety

- Improving aviation safety worldwide.

- reducing the number of separate audits required by airlines.


Sources for IOSA ISARPs

The primary source for specifications contained in the ISARPs is the safety and security requirements published in the ICAO Annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation that is applicable either directly or indirectly to the Operator (Airlines).


IATA Membership versus IOSA Audit

All IATA members must be IOSA registered and renew their IOSA registrations to keep IATA membership.

Currently, more than 413 airlines benefit from the IATA IOSA Audit program up to July 2023, and many of those airlines are non-IATA member airlines.


IOSA Audit Scope

IATA performs IOSA audits that cover a scope of an airline safety, security, and operations management that include:

-           Organization and Management System (ORG)

-           Flight Operations (FLT)

-           Operational Control and Flight Dispatch (DSP)

-           Aircraft Engineering and Maintenance (MNT

-           Cabin Operations (CAB)

-           Ground Handling Operations (GRH

-           Cargo Operations (CGO)

-           Security Management (SEC).


IOSA Audit Strong Feature

According to aircraft crash statics from 2018-20122, the IOSA-certified airlines had a crash rate three times less than those airlines without IOSA certification.


IOSA-certified airlines are more trusted by air passengers because air passengers value their safety while flying onboard IOSA-certified airlines that follow an internationally agreed standards to ensure flight safety.


Why Airlines Avoiding IOSA

Small regional airlines prefer not to apply for IOSA audit registration because of the following reasons:

- Poor safety culture

- Poor safety leadership by top management.

- IOSA audit is optional.

- Avoiding further costs on safety.

- Not having a professional team.

- They may worry about failure.

- They may find it difficult to change

- The airline's operations are not stable

-  No competition

-   Their customers are not aware of the benefit of IOSA. 


Why Risk-Based IOSA?

Let us think about this logical reason, if any IOSA-certified operator has been demonstrating conformity with a non-critical ISARP for several consecutive audits. 


Why IOSA audit will continue to focus on for non-critical ISARPs while the operators need helps in another area that focus on its operational risks, which are different from that risks that face the other airlines.


This mean that the operators need helps with the most critical ISARPs by tailoring the audit scope to be focused on the high-criticality ISARPs according to the operator’s operating profile and audit history. While the low-criticality ISARPs may be audited at a lower frequency. 


I will clear it, Risk-Based IOSA audit will maintain the same safety levels, but it will increase audit effectiveness and contributes to the industry’s overall goal of reducing accidents by focusing on individual areas of potential safety risk that face each operator rather than applying a (one-size-fits-all) approach for all operators.


According to IATA, the phase of the gradual transition of IOSA to a new approach called Risk-Based IOSA will start in 2023, and the gradual transition process will end in 2025.



IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) Program improves airline operational safety to be in line with ICAO safety and security provisions and industry best practices from ICAO Annexes 1, 2, 6, 8, 17, 18 and 19 plus EASA regulations, FAA regulations, and regulatory oversight. IOSA standards are updated regularly.


If any airline wishes to have more information about IATA IOSA Audit, they can visit the IATA website.

Maged Saeed AL-Hadabi

I’m Instructor / Maged Saeed Al-Hadabi. ​ Air Cargo / IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations / Safety Management System Senior Instructor, Auditor [ Yemen Airways] . Approved IATA DGR/ SMS Instructor by Yemen Civil Aviation Authority.

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