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Abstract

This article discusses the relationship between the mandates to achieve increased operational safety and the application of risk management strategies. That commercial airlines must operate at the highest level of safety is mandated by statute. FAA regulation, 14 CFR part 5, outlines the FAA response to the requirements of ICAO Annex 19, Safety Management, by establishing requirements for certificate holders to develop a Safety Management System with 4 components: (a) Safety Policy; (b) Safety Risk Management; (c) Safety Assurance; and (d) Safety Promotion. Safety is a tangible and intangible element foundational to the successful commercial airline sector. A structured multi-layered risk analysis is the basis for operational decisions that support that premise. To achieve the next level of safety, this article outlines the multi-layered risk management practices required to support safety goals. At the strategic level, management should implement a predictive risk management process to forecast future potential hazards and allocate organizational financial and materiel resources to mitigate risks. At the intermediate tactical risk level, flight crews should use a Risk Assessment tool or a PAVE or DECIDE mnemonic as a formalized, structured proactive risk management tool. The 3P model provides a more immediate reactive risk management decision tool to analyze rapidly changing conditions and to adjust the course of action required to effect the desired safe outcome. The article posits that this multi-layered approach to analyzing hazards and implementing appropriate risk mitigation strategies is mandatory to achieve a future of continued operational safety improvements in the commercial airline sector.

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