In the aviation industry, a Quality System comprises the set of policies, processes and procedures required for the planning and execution of safe and efficient air operations. The system integrates the various internal processes and enables the organization to identify, measure, control and improve the effectiveness and safety of its activities.
Quality System in Aircraft Operations
EU-OPS 1.035 requires that:
- An operator shall establish one Quality System and designate one Quality Manager to monitor compliance with, and the adequacy of, procedures required to ensure safe operational practices and airworthy aeroplanes. Compliance monitoring must include a feed-back system to the Accountable Manager to ensure corrective action as necessary.
- The Quality System must include a Quality Assurance Programme that contains procedures designed to verify that all operations are being conducted in accordance with all applicable requirements, standards and procedures.
- The Quality System and the Quality Manager must be acceptable to the Authority.
- The quality system must be described in relevant documentation.
- Notwithstanding sub-paragraph (a) above, the Authority may accept the nomination of two Quality Managers, one for operations and one for maintenance, provided that the operator has designated one Quality Management Unit to ensure that the Quality System is applied uniformly throughout the entire operation.
The EU-OPS material detailing requirements for a Quality System has been transposed into law under EU-OPS 1.035 for commercial air transport (CAT) operators.
According to section 3 of Appendix 1 to EU-OPS 1.1045 an operator’s Operations Manual shall contain a description of the quality system adopted including at least:
- Quality policy;
- A description of the organisation of the quality system; and
- Allocation of duties and responsibilities.
Quality Management System in ANS Provision
In Europe, according to the [Regulation 2017/373 - Requirements for providers of ATM/ANS and other ATM network functions and their oversight]] an ANS provider shall have in place a quality management system which covers all air navigation services it provides. The quality management system shall:
- define the quality policy in such a way as to meet the needs of different users as closely as possible;
- set up a quality assurance programme that contains procedures designed to verify that all operations are being conducted in accordance with applicable requirements, standards and procedures;
- provide evidence of the functioning of the quality system by means of manuals and monitoring documents;
- appoint management representatives to monitor compliance with, and adequacy of, procedures to ensure safe and efficient operational practices;
- perform reviews of the quality system in place and take remedial actions, as appropriate.
An EN ISO 9001 certificate, issued by an appropriately accredited organisation, covering the air navigation services of the provider is considered as a sufficient means of compliance to the regulatory requirements.
Integration of Safety and Quality Management
The ‘Pros and Cons’ of integrating the different management systems aviation service providers are required to implement and maintain have been studied by various organisations over the recent years. One of the main drivers for implementing an integrated management system is the efficient use of available resources. A number of models were identified by the research activities ranging from ‘discrete’ through ‘partially integrated’ to ‘fully integrated’. Many ANS providers have made the first step towards partial integration of safety and quality management by setting up a common safety & quality management unit (Directorate).
The prospects for the future implementation of an integrated management system will be studied further in the R & D work to be carried out within the scope of SESAR.