In November 2005, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) amended Annex 14, Volume I (Aerodrome Design and Operations) to require member states to have certificated international airports establish an SMS.

The FAA supports harmonization of international standards and has worked to make U.S. aviation safety regulations consistent with ICAO standards and recommended practices. We intend to implement SMS at U.S. airports in a way that complements the requirements of 14 CFR Part 139, Certification of Airports.


We are now considering the best way to introduce an SMS requirement to the more than 540 U.S. airports certificated under Part 139. The Safety Management System for Certificated Airports Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was issued on October 7, 2010. The FAA accepted comments on the proposed SMS rule through July 5, 2011.

Before issuing a final SMS rule, we will consider —

  • All public and industry comments
  • The experiences of airports that have already implemented an SMS
  • The benefits and costs of the rule so we can tailor it to impose the minimum burden and costs needed for an effective program
  • Whether the requirement should apply to all certificated airports or only to airports above a certain activity level
  • For airports subject to an SMS requirement, how various elements of SMS might apply to airports of different sizes and resources
  • Existing Part 139 requirements so we can avoid duplication
  • The level of FAA oversight needed for individual SMS plans
  • SMS training needs for FAA employees and airport operators and staff

Actions Taken to Date

We have already taken a number of actions to help us introduce SMS to U.S. airports, including developing an SMS advisory circular, sponsoring the development of additional guidance, and initiating SMS Pilot Studies: