The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is implementing a program of regulation reform to improve, strengthen and reinforce aviation safety within Australia.

Regulations are written based on experience and outcomes - often negative.

In accordance with the ICAO SARPs, the reforms will put in place a range of safety measures including the requirement for SMS for most commercial aviation operations and maintenance.



CASA policy and guidance

19881999 onwardsComment
Civil Aviation Act (CAA)Civil Aviation Act (CAA)Act of Parliament
Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs)Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASRs)Parliamentary tabling and law
Civil Aviation Orders (CAOs)Manual(s) Of Standards (MOS)Written by CASA with enforceable legislative powers
Civil Aviation Advisory Publications (CAAPs)Advisory Circulars (ACs),
Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC)
Guidance Material (GM)
Advisory only, no head of power but defines compliance requirements


The table above shows the evolution of Regulatory reform since 1988 when the Civil Aviation Act came into power.  The implementation of the CASRs CASAs Regulation Reform program is ongoing.

Regulation reform is occurring so that Australian legislation is;

CASA Bubble diagram
Link to the CASA bubble diagram

  • Located in one place
  • Aligned with international best practice
  • Based of past lessons learnt
  • Responsive to advances in global aviation

SMS and Human Factors training are two of the common requirements applicable to all organisations affected by the aviation regulation reform program.


CASA SMS kit'SMS for Aviation - A Practical Guide 2nd edition provides useful information for organisations-whether they are updating and improving an existing SMS, or developing and implementing a new one from scratch.

It is practical, written in plain English and takes a jargon-busting approach. The set of eight booklets outlines the structure of an SMS following the global ICAO framework.

The kit also includes a DVD featuring the video dramas, SOS and SMS and ‘What the experts say-a series of video interviews with industry SMS experts and practitioners; and a CD containing useful tools (checklist and templates). Organisations can adapt those tools to suit their own individual needs' (from CASA Website)

The 8 booklets are;

  • Booklet 1 – Safety Management System Basics
  • Booklet 2 - Safety Policy and Objectives
  • Booklet 3 – Safety Risk Management
  • Booklet 4 – Safety Assurance
  • Booklet 5 – Safety Promotion
  • Booklet 6 – Human Factors
  • Booklet 7 – SMS for small, non-complex organisations
  • Booklet 8 – Workbook

​The kit can be purchased though the CASA online store or can be downloaded through the website.

The associated SMS videos are hosted through the CASA YouTube channel



There are 4 CAAPs from CASA regarding SMS;

  • SMS-1(0)  Safety Management Systems for Regular Public Transport Operations
  • SMS-2(0)  Integration of Human Factors (HF) into Safety Management Systems
  • SMS-3(1)  Non-Technical Skills Training and Assessment for Regular Public Transport Operations
  • SMS-4(0)  Guidance on the establishment of a Flight Data Analysis Program (FDAP) – SMS

​It needs to be noted as of 2015; the SMS CAAPs are tailored for Regular Public Transport (RPT) organisations (both operational and maintenance).  They are also 'CAAPs' (associated with CARs/COAs) which are being phased out with the regulation reform program as CASRs replace CARs. However the current content will be largely retained for all aviation organisations (not just RPT) and is expected to be replicated in ACs, ACM and GM associated with respective CASRs 

 Current SMS requirements

Air Traffic Service ProvidersPart 171, 172 & 173Apr 03
Certified AerodromesPart 139 InternationalNov 05
Certified AerodromesPart 139 Other CertifiedJan 07
Air OperatorsCAO 82.5 (RPT - high capacity)Jul 09
CAO 82.3 (RPT - other than high capacity)Feb 10
Approved Maintenance OrganisationsPart 145Jun 13
Flying Training OrganisationPart 142Sep 14
Note CASR Part 141 do not require SMS but are 'strongly encouraged' to adopt SMS

Future SMS requirements - CASA Briefing December 2018 - Made December 2018

CASR Part 119 - Australian air transport operators (certification and management)

...Deals with the certification and management for air transport operators and applies to all operators with an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) for current charter, RPT or air ambulance operations.

Part 119 includes requirements for a Safety Management System (SMS), training and checking and for human factors and non-technical skills training – all scaled to the size and complexity of the operation...

CASA - December 2018

121, 133, 135 and 138, implementation by 25 March 2021

Part 145 for 133, 135 and 138...??

Link to CASA Regulation reform program timetable

Australian Air Transport Operations - Large AeroplanesPart 121Greater than 8618kg certified for more than 10 seats or more
Australian air transport operations - rotorcraftPart 133Includes helicopters, gyroplanes or powered-lift aircraft
Australian Air Transport Operations - Small AeroplanesPart 135Less than 8616kg certified for 9 seats or less
Maintenance organisations (non RPT)Part 145Still subject to CASA/Industry consultation
Aerial work operationsPart 138SMS requirements subject to risk based assessment
Note: Air Transport is a flight conducted for cargo or passengers, for hire or reward, and is publically available

Compliance requirements

CASA requires that all applicable organisations be compliant with SMS requirements by the end of the respective regulation transitional period.

For example, the current organisations affected are CASR Part 142 organisations (Integrated and multi-crew pilot flight training and contracted recurrent training and checking)  The commencement date for this regulation was 01 September 2014 with a three year transition period for organisations (4 years for individual Part 61 licences). This means a Part 142 organisation has until 31 August 2017 to meet entry control requirements for SMS (and the other Part 142 regulatory compliance requirements.)

Note: While Part 141 operators (Recreational, private and commercial pilot flight training, other than certain integrated training courses) are not required to develop a safety management system (SMS), CASA recommends that operators adopt and implement a SMS.

The future significant (and final major) regulation reform is for the Flight Operations suite.  This will affect all remaining commercial  rotorcraft, fixed wing, balloons and airship operations and maintenance. There will be a requirement for each of these organisations to implement and use an SMS.

However, CASA recognises that every organisation is unique and that the SMS needs to be appropriate  to the number of persons it involves, the type of activity it conducts, and the level of risk it is exposed to.  A small country town non-complex maintenance shop for example will not require the scale and complexity of a city based major RPT operations SMS.

The key CASA statement regarding an organisation's SMS is '...tailored to meet the size and complexity of the organisation...'

Note: there is current consideration that all Australian SMS information may be tabled in a new CASR Part 5. This would be consistent with ICAO process of consolidating all previous SMS reference into Annex 19 (PNG - CAR Part 100 - 2011, NZ CAR Part 100 - 2016)