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Observations on IS-BAH and Awareness

Ground Handling | May 26, 2015

Author: Stewart MacPherson

I was recently at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, where I was surprised by the level of awareness of the IS-BAH. Short for the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling, the IS-BAH follows the structure of the IS-BAO. It is a code of industry best practices for ground handlers and operators worldwide. ( recently announced its new status as an International Standards Support Services Affiliate for the IS-BAH.)

Most FBOs at EBACE knew about the IS-BAH, and quite a few are already prepping for registration. The big push is to be the first. First in the world, first in the country, first in Europe, etc. By showing their dedication to the IS-BAH, they are showing their commitment to developing a “culture shift” in safety and training.

While I found EBACE to be a revelation in terms of FBOs embracing the IS-BAH, at the National Business Aviation Convention (NBAA) in Orlando last year awareness and subsequently interest was very low. Most people did not know what the IS-BAH was, or why it was being implemented. In Europe they seem to have adopted the policy as their own and are eager to show their commitment by being IS-BAH-certified.

In North America, the situation will change as more and more regional meetings promote discussion of the IS-BAH’s benefits. The Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) Convention in June already has a session announced with Terry Yeomans (IS-BAH Program Director). Once the first Canadian FBO gets certified, I’m sure there will be more to follow.

North American FBOs are cautious in their approach, as they see it as another audit added to an already busy schedule, but by complying with the IS-BAH the ultimate goal is that the amount of audits will decrease.

As the only approved Canadian Auditor for the IS-BAH and the newly appointed Chair of the Standards Board, I would love to see Canada embrace the IS-BAH. I wonder which FBO will be the first?

Stewart MacPherson, Technical Advisor, has been in the FBO business for over 20 years. He started as line crew and progressed to Operations Manager at a busy FBO. He has been heavily involved in both ramp and customer service training, and is an accredited IS-BAH (International Standards for Business Aircraft Handling) auditor and the current chair of the Standards Board for IS-BAH.

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