SMS Element 3 of Safety Policy & Objectives

Appointment of Key Safety Personnel

Appointing the right safety manager at an airline or airport is critical to the success of every SMS program. Larger airlines and airports may have dedicated safety teams directed by a "Director of Safety." Medium sized operators may have multiple divisions, with a full-time safety manager for each division. It is common for a safety manager to manage more than one division, for example, flight ops and administration.

Smaller airlines and airports will typically have a part-time safety manager. This safety manager will typically be functioning as departmental supervisor or manager, and the safety manager roles will be just another "additional duty." These safety managers have a difficult task shaping culture, as the safety manager responsibilities inadvertently compete with the other regular duties.

Airlines and airports will:

  • Assign competent personnel with the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience to manage the operation of the SMS program;
  • Ensure persons managing the operation of the SMS program fulfills required job functions and responsibilities;
  • Provide a direct reporting line between the Safety Manager and the Accountable Executive;
  • Allocate sufficient resources to manage the SMS program including manpower for safety investigations, analysis, auditing and safety promotion activities; and
  • Ensure personnel in key safety roles are kept current through additional training and attendance at conferences and seminars.

This element is satisfied when the SMS program is facilitated by the accountable executive and there is an identified structure of key safety personnel from the various operational areas. Department heads are actively and visibly involved in the SMS program.


SMS Pro modules used to support this requirement


Best Practices

  • The airline or airport has established a structured safety committee or equivalent, appropriate for the size and complexity of the operation, including a full range of senior management representatives;
  • Safety Committee or its equivalent monitors operational safety performance and SMS program effectiveness. Safety committees are commonly chaired by the Accountable Executive;
  • Safety managers are given appropriate status within the organization reflecting (in the org chart and in practice) the importance of the safety role within the airline or airport;
  • Safety committees include stakeholders and significant contracted organizations; and
  • Safety committees are focused on safety issues and all attendees fully participate.

Additional Educational Resources/

What Makes a Good Aviation Safety Manager?

Most Common Aviation Risk Management Challenges at Airlines & Airports


Free Downloads

Safety Manager Job Description

Aviation Safety Manager Checklists