Safety Ratings – Why are they important?

By Matt Dubois — PJS Chief of Staff & Director of Safety 

When seeking private air travel, there are almost too many options from which to pick. They must all be about the same, right? Unfortunately, it is nowhere near that simple. 

Safety ratings are an invaluable tool in making sure you do not inadvertently accept excessive risk on your next flight. The preferred way to get what you need is to establish a relationship with an aviation advisor. Your advisor will do all the work for you and present you with options and explanations to satisfy discerning safety critics.

Wyvern, ARGUS and IS-BAO are the safety tools used by aviation professionals to separate the best from the rest. These three main safety ratings used by Part 135 charter providers can tell you a great deal about your trip.

ARGUS is the best known of these “credentialing” agencies. Aviation organizations look to the ARG/US three-tiered system to show their customers that they have agreed to live by a much higher standard of safety best practices than is required by FAA regulations. The tiers are Gold, Gold Plus and Platinum. Gold is good, Gold Plus is better and Platinum is the best.

Wyvern has two levels, certified operator and their top level, Wingman. Wyvern also established the unique Flight Leader Program. The Flight Leader Program mitigates performance drift with frequent and continuous coaching that helps charter providers attain higher levels of excellence. WYVERN Flight Leader Coaches guide them to achieve and maintain a resilient safety culture via monitoring and expert tutoring related to human, organizational and technical factors.

IS-BAO has three levels. Stage 1, 2 and 3. It is worth pointing out that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recognizes IS-BAO accreditation as one method of demonstrating a safety management system.  Since 2016, EASA has required commercial aircraft operators from outside European Union territories to comply with certain regulatory and safety standards by applying for a third-country operator authorization. One of those standards is the implementation of an SMS.

There are other ratings available, but these are the big three. When deciding which provider will earn your business, the rating companies are all a little different but should paint a consistent picture of a provider.

Bottom line, if they hold any of the highest level ratings, you are in good hands. Charter providers committing to a higher level of safety is a big undertaking and not one all are willing to make. But for those who choose to make that investment, the return is worth it. Just over 5% of operators qualify for any one of the highest ratings by any of these agencies.

If your preferred provider has the top rating by all three agencies, you can be confident that they go above and beyond regulatory requirements and adhere to our industry’s best practices. With all three, you know they have been thoroughly examined by different auditors and measured by different standards. 

At PJS, safety comes first. Always. It is at the core of our decision-making on every level. Our team of industry veterans and dedicated Director of Safety manage PJS standards for due diligence with stringent safety mechanisms that require an absolute commitment to detail.

We know that by proactively discerning the best available carriers and pilots, we provide safer and more consistent travel experiences for our clients. Every carrier, every aircraft, every pilot, every flight, every contingency; by proactively focusing on the details, we minimize the risk of the unexpected.

For more information or to ask a question, please give me a shout: matt.dubois@pjsgroup.com.