Legal Aspects of Airport Programs. Topic 08-01. Legal Issues Related to the Implementation and Operation of Safety Management Systems at Airports

In 2001 the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) instituted a standard requiring Safety Management Systems (SMS) for international airports. In 2010 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated its support for the ICAO SMS standard and began an SMS pilot program for selected U.S. airports. Some airports have developed SMS programs and are in the process of implementing or operating those programs. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) has published several reports that provide airport professionals with valuable background information on SMS. SMS Report 1 Volume 1, for example, provides an overview of SMS and explains how the SMS approach to safety management is intended to benefit both the safety and business aspects of airports. SMS Report 1 Volume 2 describes in more detail the elements of an airport SMS, their interaction, and offers guidance in planning, implementing, and operating an SMS. Legal Research Digest 19 identifies legal issues related to developing an SMS at airports. In late 2012 TRB published Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 37 ("Lessons Learned from Airport Safety Management Systems Pilot Studies"). Synthesis 37 provided a more detailed analysis with SMS as it is developing at U.S. airports. All of these developments suggest the necessity for a review of the American experience with SMS that focuses on the legal issues (such as tort liability, litigation, and open records) that airports have experienced in implementing or operating SMS programs.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 11-01, Topic

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Greenberger, Marci

  • Start Date: 20150421
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 39485

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01560692
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 11-01, Topic
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Apr 22 2015 1:01AM