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Safety Management System

SMS for 121 Operators

The FAA Aviation Safety Organization issued a final rule that was published on January 8, 2015, requiring operators authorized to conduct operations under part 121 to develop and implement a Safety Management System. The rule adds a new part 5 to title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), creating the general framework for an SMS that a part 121 air carrier may adapt to fit the needs of its operation. It also modifies title 14 CFR part 119 to specify applicability and implementation of the new SMS framework in part 5 for aircraft operators certificated under part 121.

This rule was developed with input from an SMS Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) and public comments submitted in response to an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) (74 FR 36414) and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (75 FR 68224). The final rule was also based on lessons learned from Flight Standards SMS industry pilot projects.

Guidance to FAA Flight Standards offices for implementation plan approval, system validation, acceptance, and oversight is also available. These documents and tools may be valuable for part 121 certificate holders in developing and implementing their Safety Management Systems. Documents include:

Documents associated with the rulemaking project that led to the publication of this rule are available at under Docket No. FAA-2009-0671.

Contact Information

  • James L. Wyrick
    Aviation Safety
    Flight Standards, Office of Safety Standards
    Assistant Manager, SMS Program Office, AFS-910
    (c) 571-364-4631
  • Flight Standards SMS Program Office

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