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​What is GASOS

The global aviation safety oversight system (GASOS) is a voluntary ICAO assessment and recognition programme for safety oversight organizations (SOOs) and Accident Investigation Organizations (AIOs). For the initial phase of GASOS an SOO is defined as an RSOO or any other intergovernmental regional or subregional aviation safety oversight body that supports a State or group of States in carrying out their safety functions and activities. In this context an SOO expressly does not include private entities.  Similarly, an AIO is an intergovernmental regional accident and incident investigation organization (RAIO).    

 

ICAO will first assess the qualifications and capabilities of a SOO/AIO to provide specific functions or activities against a set of objective criteria. If the assessment is satisfactory ICAO will then issue recognition to the organization for its qualifications and capabilities to provide those functions or activities to States.  ICAO will also publish a directory of recognized SOOs/AIOs and the functions and activities they are able to provide so that ICAO member States can easily find organizations to assist them.

 

Why GASOS is Necessary

As the world of aviation continues to evolve at a very rapid pace many States struggle to keep up with the developments in aviation.

 

In January 1999, ICAO launched the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) in response to widespread concerns about the adequacy of aviation safety oversight around the world.  These regular and mandatory audits assess whether a member State has effectively and consistently implemented the critical elements of a safety oversight system, which enable the State to ensure the implementation of ICAO's safety-related Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and associated procedures and guidance material.

 

After nearly two-decades of assessments many States continue to struggle in complying with international aviation safety standards because they lack the required resources and technical capacity.  To address this, ICAO has promoted regional collaboration mechanisms, including the establishment of Regional Safety Oversight Organizations (RSOOs), which essentially group the efforts of their individual members into a regional entity. RSOOs are seen as an effective mechanism for enhancing safety and strengthening the safety oversight capabilities of their individual members. However, despite the actions taken and the assistance provided to resolve the deficiencies identified through these programmes, many States are still not in compliance with ICAO SARPs. To further assist States in improving their oversight functions, ICAO is introducing a new programme, GASOS. 

 

How GASOS Works

The initial recognition of a SOO/AIO takes place in four stages as described below.

Stage 1: Application and pre-assessment
An SOO/AIO may voluntarily submit an application for assessment and recognition, using an on-line application form. The application will include preliminary information on the organization, including supporting documentation, the intended scope of assessment and recognition, and the functions already performed by the SOO/AIO, if applicable.

 

ICAO will then perform a pre-assessment of the application package in order to determine the SOO's/AIO's eligibility. The applicant will be informed by ICAO if the application requires more information or if it is approved to move forward or rejected. If the scope of the application covers multiple technical areas, ICAO may consider applying a modular approach to the assessment (with multiple assessment teams and keeping the possibility to phase the recognition steps). Once the application is approved to move forward, ICAO will send the SOO/AIO the necessary information to begin the next stage.


Stage 2: Self-assessment and preparation of the on-site assessment
The SOO/AIO will provide a self-assessment to demonstrate its qualifications and capabilities against the applicable assessment criteria, along with relevant supporting documents as appropriate. After review of the self-assessment, ICAO will establish an assessment team and initiate the preparation of the on-site assessment.

 

The assessment team will be composed of qualified GASOS assessors (see paragraph 3.3.4). The size and composition of the team will be determined depending on the SOO/AIO size and intended scope of assessment and recognition. The team will prepare an on-site assessment plan based on the results of the self-assessment, documentation/evidence provided by the SOO/AIO with their application, and the level of recognition sought. 


Stage 3: The on-site assessment
The assessment team, under the leadership of a team leader, will establish an on-site assessment plan that will define in detail the scope and planning of the on-site activity.  The on-site assessment methodology will be derived from the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Manual (Doc 9735), Fourth Edition (chapter 7, refers).  GASOS assessments may use the information derived from the USOAP CMA in cases where a SOO/AIO has been subject to a recent USOAP CMA activity that may be relevant to the intended scope of assessment and recognition.  

 

The assessment team will conduct the on-site assessment, collect evidence, complete an assessment check-list and identify potential findings and observations. This material will be used to verify that a SOO/AIO meets certain qualifications and has demonstrated its capability against a set of standardized assessment criteria. The assessment team will inform the SOO/AIO of any identified findings that require corrective actions.

 

In cases where a SOO/AIO applies for an assessment and recognition for the provision of functions at Level 2 or Level 3 without having organizational experience of actually performing such functions, the assessment will consider also the experience available with individual technical personnel of the SOO/AIO, as well as other aspects such as training, processes and procedures. Additional mitigations may be considered in the frame of the monitoring of the SOO/AIO.


Stage 4: Recognition
During the final stage, a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) will be initiated for any identified findings that resulted from the GASOS assessment and the applicant will update its qualification and capability demonstration accordingly.

 

The assessment team will prepare its draft assessment report that will provide a summary of the assessment activities and their outcomes. The SOO/AIO will have an opportunity to comment on the draft report and list of findings before it is finalized.

 

Assuming any findings have been sufficiently addressed and a satisfactory internal ICAO peer review of the assessment report has been conducted, a GASOS recognition certificate will be issued to the SOO/AIO, including the scope of recognition. The GASOS directory will be updated accordingly.

 

As this overall process may have the potential to generate conflicts of technical opinion between the SOO/AIO and ICAO, procedures for resolution of conflict and for contested decisions will be needed.

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