Important Changes to ATA 103 – Standards for Jet Fuel Quality Control at Airports

This month, Airlines for America (A4A) announced several significant changes to their ATA 103 Specification – Standards for Jet Fuel Quality Control at Airports. Chief among these changes is an extension of coalescer filter elements from a one-year replacement schedule to a three-year replacement schedule. The coalescer filter housings are still required to be opened and inspected annually for cleanliness and element integrity, and the maximum allowable differential pressure (DP) remains 15psi. Monitor filter elements had their maximum allowable DP extended to 22psi, but are still required to be replaced annually. Another important change came in the elimination of the required monthly upstream membrane color/particle check, or “Millipore” test (downstream testing is still required monthly).


The announcement came after a “comprehensive review and update” by the A4A Fuel Technical Committee, and included several other key highlights. The new revision ATA 103 2017.1 is expected to be published next month, and will include additional updates not outlined in the announcement.  A copy of the full announcement can be viewed here.

Including Safety in Your FBO Selection

Aircraft operators consider a number of factors when choosing an FBO: available facilities, customer service, fuel cost, hangar availability, location and fees. As you read that list, one important item is absent – safety. A recent study by the VanAllen Group found that ground incidents accounted for “the largest source of [insurance] claims payments.”

Though safety is not on the list above, the bottom line is that aircraft operators care about safety in all they do. In fact, a focus on FBO safety is considered a given expectation. Think about the last time you went to a restaurant; did you spend any time thinking about whether the food you consumed would give you food poisoning? Probably not, and this is not because you don’t care about food safety, but rather because you assume that restaurant is focusing on preventing food borne illness. The same is true with FBO selection, an FBO with quality facilities, great customer service, and competitive pricing must be doing the right things when it comes to safety, correct?

FBO safety is also challenging to assess from afar. How can a dispatcher, scheduler or flight coordinator effectively evaluate an FBO’s safety program during a phone call? Challenges aside, with ground handling incidents being a leading cause of aircraft damage, our industry has determined that aircraft operators should be even more proactive when it comes to ensuring ground safety of aircraft at remote locations. Standards like the International Standard – Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) and the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s (ACSF) Industry Audit Standard (IAS) both include requirements for reviewing ground handling safety while aircraft are away from home. So what can an aircraft operator do?

First, we must understand the basis for ground handling safety in our industry. In the U.S. ground handling is governed by industry standard. Some of those standards include Airlines for America’s (A4A) Spec 103 (fuel quality), NATA’s Safety 1st Program (operational safety training) and the International Standard – Business Aircraft Handling (safety management system (SMS) and standard practice). When implemented and rigorously adhered to, these standards form a solid base that aircraft operators can rely on as an indicator that FBOs are taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the aircraft, passengers and crew they handle.

Asking “Is your FBO IS-BAH registered and Safety 1st qualified?” is the quickest and simplest means to assess the safety commitment of an FBO. Currently over 600 locations meet the Safety 1st qualification requirements and over 50 FBOs have achieved IS-BAH registration with even more on the way during Q1 of this year. Of course, what is done with this information is up to each individual aircraft operator. Likely, it will be used in combination with other factors. Even though it may not be a sole decision making criterion, there is no replacement for checking an FBO’s Safety 1st and IS-BAH registration status. In fact, aircraft operators can verify Safety 1st & IS-BAH status of FBOs around the world by visiting A global map utilizing the familiar Google Maps platform displays every FBO in the world that is Safety 1st qualified or IS-BAH registered. The map is searchable by airport, city, state and FBO name and provides a quick way to verify the status of any FBO you might choose to visit.

Ground handling safety is important to FBOs and it is important to you as an aircraft operator. Taking a few moments in your FBO evaluation process to ask, “Are you IS-BAH registered and Safety 1st qualified?” and verifying that status on provides you a critical decision point in your FBO selection process.

Republished from Business Air’s Charter Today (Q1 2017)

FlyCorporate: Standards Can Take FBOs to New Heights

FlyCorporate recently published an article on the benefits of becoming IS-BAH certified. Find out more about what an IS-BAH rating can do for your FBO and how to get started.

Everything You Could Ever Want to Know About Fuel Handling

I remember back to my early days in working at an FBO, I was still struggling to find a direction to my career in aviation. I found that direction in aviation fuel handling and I can remember searching high and low for informational sources so that I could learn more about the processes, procedures and equipment that our industry uses to make sure that fuel is delivered clean, dry and on-specification. I remember reading the old, blue covered, NATA Fuel Handling guide and the Gam-Grams from Gammon Technical Products.

A new resource on aviation fuel handling became available late last year from the Energy Institute; the second edition of EI 1550, the Handbook on equipment used for the maintenance and delivery of clean aviation fuel. I am reading it now and it is a valuable reference for anyone involved in the handling of aviation fuel. The handbook is available directly from the Energy Institute here.

While we are on the subject, there are a number of other great resources on fuel handling including the Gam-Grams I mentioned earlier and:

There are likely other fantastic resources out there. Please don’t hesitate to let me know other resources that you depend on!

Submitted by Michael France, NATA Director of Safety and Training

Visit or return to NATA website:

2015 is the Year of the Trainer!

Happy New Year from Safety 1st! We hope you and your family had a great holiday season. With 2015 just a few days old we wanted to take a moment to remind you of an exciting new Safety 1st program beginning in just a few weeks, the Safety 1st Certified Trainer Program.

Trainers are vital components to the morale, efficiency and safety of any ground handling operation as they have an impact on how every team member views and performs their job. With that in mind, NATA Safety 1st has introduced the Safety 1st Certified Trainer Program for 2015. This program provides your trainers with the basic knowledge they need to take your training program to the next level.

The Certified Trainer Program is a live, instructor led, online learning experience consisting of (six) 1 to 1.5 hour online courses conducted over a three-month period. Each course will cover a vital area of knowledge and experience necessary to be an effective trainer.

Certified trainers will also receive access to ongoing coaching sessions that provide them access to industry experts as well as collaboration with other trainers across the country and around the world.

Since there is no travel involved, the cost of the Safety 1st Certified Trainer Program is very affordable at only $650 per student for NATA member companies.

For more information or to register, visit the NATA events page at or click here.

A New Award Recognizing Line Service Professionals

It has been 13 years since I started working as a line service technician and I can still remember the first time I heard my job referred to as a “ramp rat.” I was offended then and would still be offended today. The people I knew who worked on the ramp put in long hours often in less than ideal weather, and did so with an attitude of dedication and customer service. These individuals worked hard every day to provide the FBO’s customers the best possible experience whether they were based tenants, overnight guests or just a simple drop and go.

Because of these experiences, I am incredibly proud that NATA is adding to its list of Industry Excellence Awards a Safety 1st Certified Line Service Professional Award. This award will be given to a line service professional who demonstrates outstanding efforts to increase safety, service or business processes. The individual who receives this award will be recognized at the association’s annual awards luncheon along with the winners of the Airport Executive Partnership, Excellence in Pilot Training, FAA Service Excellence and GA Service Technician awards.

Across our industry, line service professionals make a positive difference every day.  This award will help honor more than just a single individual, I hope it will honor the hard work and dedication of line service professionals across the country and around the world!

Michael France

Director, Safety & Training – Former Line Service Professional

Nominations for the Safety 1st Certified Line Service Professional Award must be made by the NATA member company with which they are employed.

Click here to download a nomination packet

First U.S. Fundamentals of IS-BAH Workshop Underway Today

The first U.S. fundamentals of IS-BAH workshop is underway today at Flight Safety in Atlanta, GA. The fundamentals of IS-BAH workshop gives FBOs and ground handlers an overview of the IS-BAH standard and practical advice for implementation of the standard into existing business practices.


The International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) is a set of global industry best practices for business aviation ground handlers that features at its core a safety management system (SMS). The IS-BAH follows the long established structure of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) Program and incorporates the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Program. As one global industry code of best practices, IS-BAH will provide standardization to handlers and operators around the world to meet the coming SMS requirements from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

For more information on IS-BAH please visit