The Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS) improves the certification and surveillance processes for air carriers. It assesses the safety of air carrier operating systems using system safety principles; safety attributes, risk management, and structured system engineering practices. Three major functions further define the oversight system: design assessment, performance assessment, and risk management.

Design and Performance Assessment has eight process modules (For a more detailed explanation of these processes please see Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS)):

  • System Configuration
    System Configuration occurs during air carrier initial certification. It is also triggered when an air carrier requests a new or modified scope of operation through formal application. The process includes receiving and assessing the application package, gaining an understanding of the air carrier’s proposed scope of operation, and developing an oversight profile. The oversight profile identifies the specific regulatory requirements for that air carrier and helps generate a tailored list of elements that are specific to the air carrier’s scope of operation.
  • Planning
    This process involves the development of a dynamic, risk-based, Comprehensive Assessment Plan (CAP) by the Certificate Management Team.
  • Resource Management
    Resource management is an ongoing process to ensure that available resources are assigned to the highest risk priorities identified in the Comprehensive Assessment Plan (CAP) for continuing operational safety.
  • Data Collection
    The objective is to collect performance data in accordance with the Comprehensive Assessment Plan (CAP) and Principal Inspector (PI) or Certification Project Manager (CPM) instructions. Assessment of the design of a system is also accomplished for new applicants and later periodically to determine if undocumented changes to the system were done and/or to evaluate if new improvements need to be incorporated. Data collected are used to assess the system design/performance of an air carrier or applicant.
  • Data Reporting
    Data reporting is the method for transferring data collected by inspectors into the Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS) database. Safety Attribute Inspection (SAI), Element Performance Inspection (EPI), and Constructed Dynamic Observation Report (ConDOR), random inspection, and Dynamic Observation Report (DOR) data are used to assess air carrier or applicant system design and performance, and identify any safety issues.
  • Data Review
    The data review process ensures that quality data is entered into the Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS) database for decision making. The inspector provides the first level of validation by submitting complete, accurate, and quality data that complies with the data quality guidelines. The second level of data quality validation is supplied by automation. The data reviewer provides final validation and reviews activity records for the Certificate Management Team (CMT) or Certification Project Team (CPT).
  • Analysis and Assessment
    The analysis and assessment process module for design assessment determines if the air carrier's or applicant's system design meets the standards for acceptance or approval. The process uses data collected by Certificate Management Team (CMT) or Certification Project Team (CPT) members. The principal inspector (PI) or certification project manager (CPM) may use data from other sources to help make this bottom line design assessment.
  • Action Determination and Implementation
    The action determination and implementation process requires the principal inspector (PI) or certification project manager (CPM) to determine and document one or more appropriate courses of action in response to the bottom-line performance assessment. Actions may be required even if the air carrier's system performance has been affirmed. When the air carrier system performance is not affirmed, the PI or CPM must take action.