Once an AOC has been granted, the CAA has a duty to ensure that the operator continues to maintain and operate their aircraft safely.
Ongoing surveillance will be conducted and in the event of unsatisfactory findings, the CAA is empowered to vary or revoke an AOC where appropriate.
The organisation will be subject to annual audit and inspection by the CAA in order to confirm that the competence of the organisational structure and management team remains appropriate to the operations.
An annual report will be compiled collating the oversight activity conducted within the past 12 months and will include or contain an oversight programme for the ensuing 12 months.
For some operators, the oversight cycle will be conducted over a 24 month period, however an annual audit will still take place every year.
An agenda for the annual meeting between the assigned Oversight Manager and the Accountable Manager will also be determined.
In addition, for the purpose of sampling the output of the operator, a number of the following checks will also be completed within the oversight cycle:
- Cabin Check - A flight inspection to confirm that the operation of the aircraft cabin is in accordance with published procedures.
- Document Check - An inspection of aircraft and/or crew records to confirm that all relevant regulations are being complied with.
- Flight Check - A flight inspection to ensure that the operation of the flight deck is in accordance with published procedures.
- Ground Check - An inspection of one or more ground support functions to ensure conformity with relevant regulations and published procedures.
Functions inspected may include baggage, freight control, passenger handling, company facilities and support and aircraft surveys.
- Manual Check - An audit to confirm the compliance of Operational Instructions with regulatory requirements.
- Operator Competency Check - An audit to assess the suitability of the management structure for the scale and scope of the operation. Individual post holders or nominees may also be assessed for competence.
The competence of the organisation to secure the safe operation of their aircraft will also be assessed.
- Compliance System Check - An audit to establish that an AOC holder has an effective quality system, able to achieve and monitor compliance with procedures required to ensure safe operational practices and the airworthiness of aircraft.
- Ramp Check - An inspection conducted at the location of aircraft arrival or departure. Compliance with equipment regulations, crew licence requirements, fuelling procedures and control of cabin baggage are included in a Ramp Check.
- Training Department Check - An inspection of training conducted by or on behalf of the company.
- Safety Management System (SMS) Check - An inspection of the documentation and output of the SMS and associated meeting minutes. In addition to this check, the Oversight Manager or team members will plan to observe Safety Action meetings or Safety Review Board meetings.
Whilst it is acknowledged that the contracting out of functions is commonplace, responsibility still rests with the operator.
Oversight responsibility of the continued conformity with maintenance requirements rests with the allocated CAA Regional Office. Monitoring of maintenance support arrangements is undertaken to ensure that:
- The operator manages the airworthiness and maintenance of their aircraft to ensure safe operation.
- Ongoing compliance with the requirements of JAR-OPS 1 and 3 is achieved as appropriate.
- The approved Maintenance Programme is complied with.
- Maintenance support arrangements and associated procedures within the Maintenance Management Exposition (MME) or a combined Maintenance Organisation Exposition (MOE) and MME continue to be complied with.
- Where applicable, the MOE of the contracted maintenance organisation continues to adequately define supporting arrangement for the operator.
- The Minimum Equipment List (MEL) and its procedures are reviewed.
- Changes to the nominated post holders for maintenance are acceptable.
The Operations Manual will be reviewed to ensure that the content is compatible with the MME or Engineering Manual and/or MOE procedures.
Overview of ETOPS (Extended Range Twin Operations), AWOPS (All Weather Operations) and RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum) processes will be combined into the normal ongoing review of the maintenance support arrangements.
In the event of any significant deficiencies being identified, immediate action may be warranted to suspend the Permission.
As part of the ETOPS monitoring process, wherever practical, an ETOPS pre-departure inspection will be observed to ensure that specified procedures are being adhered to.
It is a CAA Survey Department objective that all UK AOC holders should have a sample of their fleet subjected to ramp inspection that includes a review of all pre-flight processes.