CAA, do you have a well-functioning State Safety Programme (SSP) in place?

The ICAO State Safety Programme (SSP) is a mandatory system for Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs) to guarantee the safety of civil aviation in their country. Two courses at JAA TO, which are exclusive for CAAs, address the state safety programme. In this interview, our trainer Hester explains in detail why having a proper SSP is extremely important for CAAs, and what the consequences are for not having one.

JAA TO: For a start, could you please explain what is the SSP?
Hester: Sure. The State Safety Programme (SSP) is an integrated set of regulations and activities aimed at improving aviation safety within a country. It is a management system for the promotion of civil aviation safety by the State and a framework that allows the civil aviation authority and the service providers to interact more effectively in the resolution of safety concerns in civil aviation. The ICAO Requirement “Annex 19” determines States shall establish a State Safety Programme (SSP), in order to achieve an Acceptable Level of Safety Performance (ALoSP).

JAA TO: Are the countries complying?
Hester: ICAO regularly goes and audits countries. This programme is called the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme. This audit establishes the ICAO standards implementation rate of the country. Not having a State Safety Program in place will impact this rate, which will be published on the ICAO website. Typically, most European countries have an implementation rate of around 80% or higher. Having a well-functioning SSP will push the rate up just that little bit higher. For countries that are scoring significantly lower than 80 %, putting this system in place will be an important step in making your aviation system safer. Starting in 2020, ICAO will carry out SSP implementation assessment of States. They should meet ICAO’s criteria, which was established in line with the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP). Preparing yourself as soon as possible makes good sense.

JAA TO: What is the impact of having low or not proper implementation?
Hester: 1) by not having a proper SSP in place, you don’t have an implementation rate as high as you could have. As said before, these percentage is published in the ICAO website. This has a big ramification, as it shows the country to be less developed in aviation safety. 2) by not having a proper SSP in place, the country may not systematically manage the safety of civil aviation and is not following best practices. They may be missing some components and this could have a safety impact. 3) If it is understood that the safety oversight of the CAA of the country is not good, the country cannot sustain or guarantee safe operations. ICAO may conclude that the oversight on all the operators of the country is not good enough. If they cannot guarantee that operations are safe, in the worst case, this country can go on the European or FAA ban list. Putting an SSP in place will mean a fortification of the 8 critical elements of safety oversight (ICAO).

JAA TO: So, does this mean that, if the CAA doesn’t have their Safety oversight proper in place, the airlines of the country could suffer from that?
Hester: Yes. Some countries in the world are on the ban list because their CAA’s safety oversight is lacking. In Europe, the EASA Management System for Authorities is the first step EASA took to ensure that Authorities with an EASA membership make a start establishing an SSP. In many ways the EASA management system is less restrictive than the SSP.

JAA TO: What is the difference between the SSP and the SMS?
Hester: The Safety Management System (SMS) is for aviation organisations, as air operators, aerodromes, training organisations etc. All those companies must have an SMS to ensure safety within their organisations and here, at JAA TO, I deliver the "SMS and EASA Management System Briefing", which trains high management on that. In the other hand, the State Safety Programme (SSP) is for countries and it is managed by the CAA. The SSP facilitates the civil aviation safety management of the country in a systematic and structured manner.

JAA TO: What is taught on the SSP courses you deliver at JAA TO?
Hester: During the courses at JAA TO, we start by making an inventory of the status of each of the 8 critical elements. This is the foundation for a well-functioning CAA but also for your SSP. At the end of the course, participants have a clear picture of all the work that needs to be carried out inside their CAA and how to go forwards.

JAA TO: Who can attend the SSP courses at JAA TO?
Hester: The “ICAO SSP Executive Briefing” is a one-day course for the Senior Management Team of CAAs, whilst the “ICAO SSP and EASA Authority Management System Introduction course” is a three-day Introduction for all CAA personnel involved in the development and day-to-day running of the SSP.

Both the “ICAO SSP Executive Briefing” and “ICAO SSP and EASA Authority Management System introduction" course have upcoming sessions. Register and learn more on the website.

Are you not from an authority? Check out our upcoming SMS course for industry managers: SMS and EASA Management System Executive Briefing