Federal officials said Tuesday they will require charter airlines, air-tour operators and plane manufacturers to develop detailed systems for identifying potential safety problems before accidents occur.
The Federal Aviation Administration said safety-management systems have made travel on large airlines safer since their adoption was required in 2018.
“Expanding safety management systems to other players in the aviation industry will reduce accidents and incidents and save lives,” acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates crashes, has pushed for wider adoption of such systems. In 2020, Congress directed the FAA to require them for aircraft manufacturers after two fatal crashes involving Boeing 737 Max planes. The FAA said its proposal Tuesday went further by including smaller passenger-carrying operators.
In justifying expanding the requirement to smaller air operators, the FAA cited incidents including a 2015 crash of a float plane near Ketchikan, Alaska, that killed the pilot and all eight passengers. The NTSB blamed pilot error and the company’s lack of a formal safety program.
The FAA said Tuesday that if its proposed rule had been in effect, the company would have taken steps that might have prevented the accident, including having a manager responsible for assessing safety risk.
The FAA has an explainer on safety-management systems, which have been a growing trend in aviation in recent years.