Ready, set, implement: A road map for SMS success

Elizabeth Smart, Lambert-St Louis International Airport

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Abstract: Airports across the country are waiting for the federal mandate requiring the implementation of a Safety Management System (SMS). This formal top-down business-like approach to managing safety risk is considered the next significant step in increasing aviation safety. With a system of this magnitude available right now, why not voluntarily implement SMS? After all, the successful implementation of a SMS is not centred on regulatory guidance. Rather, it stands on the Airport Executive’s commitment, the SMS manager’s position, and the airport’s safety culture. An early adopter’s road map should include goals, objectives, policies, committees, hazard reporting, promotional processes and the definition of programme success.


Keywords: safety management system, accountable executive, confidential hazard reporting, promotion, implementation, safety culture, just culture


Elizabeth Smart is Lambert-St Louis International Airport’s first Safety Management System Coordinator, developing the Airport’s safety management system from the ground up since 2012. Elizabeth is an accomplished airport professional with more than 12 years of experience, including operations and properties at airports of various sizes and complexities.

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