IS-BAO – an International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations is an industry code of best practice. It has been developed by the industry for the benefit of the industry. It is the industry’s contribution to promoting highly professional operational practices. IS-BAO is intended to build upon the excellent safety record already established by business aviation.

In many business sectors, international standards are recognized for their role in facilitating global commerce. IS-BAO is similar in this respect as its fundamental purpose is to foster standardized, safe and highly professional aircraft operations. Shortly after the IS-BAO was made available to the industry, the President of the ICAO Council endorsed the efforts of the business aviation community in developing an industry ‘code of practice’.

Benefits of IS-BAO

IS-BAO registered operators are enthusiastic in their praise of the program noting that since implementation they experience:

  • Enhanced operational safety through predictive and proactive methods
  • A sense of teamwork and pride of achievement among their personnel
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Improved efficiency and effectiveness through an integrated management system
  • Increased senior management understanding and appreciation for the operation
  • Reduced insurance rates
  • The ability to measure overall department performance
  • Improved regulator understanding and confidence

Introduction to IS-BAO

Initiated in 2002 the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) is designed to promote use of high quality operating practices for international business aircraft operations. It provides baseline requirements for structuring flight departments and planning and conducting their operations; it challenges flight departments to review their current systems, programs and procedures, recognize strengths and weaknesses in those procedures, and upgrade to a higher standard. The standard is based on International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards that prepare the operator for both domestic and international operations.

IS-BAO is an industry code of best practices developed by the international business aviation community for the benefit its members. It is the group’s contribution to promoting highly professional operational practices  that will build on the excellent safety record already established by business aviation. Conforming to these standards and recommended practices is voluntary and may be self-administered. However, recognition for implementation of and conformance to the standards is available via an auditing process that results in an IBAC certificate of registration.

The program centers on the Safety Management System (SMS) developed by ICAO and other operations-critical industries. It leads the operator from establishment of beginning principles to a sustainable SMS and operations program to a performance-based, risk averse culture for both large and small operations. Audits conducted every two years ensure conformance with the standard and provide valuable feedback to the operator. The registration certificate issued upon successful completion of an audit serves as proof of compliance with several key ICAO standards, which are required for operations in number of countries.

Audits concentrate on SMS development through a gradual process of advancing maturity:

  • Stage One confirms that the SMS infrastructure is established and that safety management activities are appropriately targeted. All supporting standards have been established.
  • Stage Two ensures that safety management activities are appropriately targeted and that safety risks are being effectively managed.
  • Stage Three verifies that safety management activities are fully integrated into the operator’s business and that a positive safety culture is being sustained.

More than 700 business aviation operators in 35 countries are currently IS-BAO registered, which continue to improve their safety risk profile and operating effectiveness and efficiency.

“Polaris Aviation Solutions has recently achieved ISBAO Phase 2 certification. When considering the selection of an auditing agency we chose SOS based on their reputation of experience, knowledge, and total support during the audit process. SOS proved to be up to the task and we would encourage anyone considering entering the world of ISBAO to engage the highly accomplished SOS team to guide them through the various stages of ISBAO certification.”


Michael Santiago, CEO
Polaris Aviation Solutions