Safety Management Systems (SMS) logo

Safety Management Systems (SMS)

A Safety Management System (SMS) is a formal risk management framework to  improve safety. Under an SMS, organisations would have systems for hazard identification and risk management, safety targets and reporting processes, procedures for audit, investigations, remedial actions, and safety education.  The size and complexity of an SMS should be scaled to suite the size of the organisation.

The CAA is encouraging organisations to proactively adopt Safety Management Systems (SMS).

On this page >>
Proposed Rule Amendments for SMS SMS Resources
   Implementation Strategy
      1 An Introduction
      2 From Quality Management Systems to SMS
      3 Guidelines for Small Organisations
      4 Aviation Risk Management
   Resource Map
   Implementing SMS - Industry Case Studies
      1 Air New Zealand
      2 Oceania Aviation
      3 Taupo Airport
      4 Massey University School of Aviation
State Safety Programme
Advisory Circular
Further Information

Note: You can subscribe to receive an email notification when new information is added to our SMS web pages. Existing subscribers to our email notification service will need to add this to their current subscription lists. Use the links below to subscribe.

New subscribers Existing subscribers

Proposed Rule Amendments for SMS

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the SMS rule is now open for consultation. Comments close 19 Jun 2015.

This NPRM proposes a new rule, Part 100, to address safety management system requirements; and consequential amendments to Parts 19F, 115, 121, 125, 135, 137, 139, 141, 145, 146, 148, 149, 171, 172, 173, 174, and 175.

The CAA wants to improve the value of consultation, and to that end has scheduled a series of four forums. The forums will present the proposed rules for SMS implementation and focus on:

  • Responding to the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)
  • Implementing SMS
City Venue Dates
Palmerston North Palmerston North Convention Centre, 354 Main Street 09 Jun 2015
Auckland Holiday Inn Auckland Airport, 2 Ascot Road, Mangere 10 Jun 2015
Christchurch Commodore Airport Hotel, 449 Memorial Avenue, Burnside 11 Jun 2015
Queenstown Mercure Queenstown Resort, Sainsbury Rd 12 Jun 2015

Who should attend: Chief executives, senior persons or persons responsible for performing functions within the organisation.

Times: Each Forum runs from 10.00am until 1.00pm.

Catering: Morning tea and lunch will be provided. Please advise if you have any dietary requirements.

Please email to register.

State Safety Programme

Implementation of SMS in New Zealand is a key part of the aviation State Safety Programme (SSP). The SSP guides the assurance of overall safety and security in New Zealand.

Back to Top

Advisory Circular

Advisory Circular AC00-4 Safety Management Systems was published in December 2012 to provide comprehensive guidance material to support Part 119, 139, 145 and 172 organisations implement a safety management system (SMS).

To align with the proposed new rule part, there is also a draft revision to the advisory circular AC00-4 Safety Management Systems which has been renumbered to AC100-1 Safety Management.

SMS Resources

For printed copies of any of the resources, see Ordering

Implementation Strategy

The following resources have been produced by the CAA to encourage and assist in the proactive implementation of SMS.

Cover of booklet: Safety Management Systems Implementation Strategy

Safety Management Systems Implementation Strategy (2.6 MB)

This strategy document provides a clear focus for SMS implementation by outlining a 7 Point Plan to encourage a proactive approach.


The purpose of this document is to provide both the CAA and participants with:

  • Direction and a central focus for all SMS implementation activities in the next five years.
  • A risk-based approach to SMS implementation throughout industry.
  • Consistency and visibility of the CAA’s methodology and actions.

By detailing the CAA’s vision, this strategy provides a framework for the CAA and industry to focus their safety efforts.

For printed copies, see Ordering

Back to Top


This series of 4 booklets forms part of CAA’s participant resource kit. it contains practical advice to organisations about how to improve current systems. They discuss processes and tools to achieve the best safety outcomes through a Safety Management System.

They explain the steps that can be taken to successfully, systematically, and proactively, manage safety.

For a hard copy of all four booklets including the Safety Managment Implementation Strategy, email giving us your postal address, and ask for the SMS participant resource kit.

Cover of booklet: Safety Management Systems (SMS) - An Introduction

Safety Management Systems (SMS)
An Introduction
(1.3 MB)

This booklet provides an overview of what a Safety Management System is, and describes each of the 13 Elements. 

Each of the 13 Elements has been defined, with examples provided about the processes and practices that are involved. A number of ‘top tips’ have been provided throughout the booklet as well.

For printed copies, see Ordering

Back to Top

Cover of booklet: From Quality Management Systems to Safety Management Systems - An Enhancement Guide

From Quality Management Systems to Safety Management Systems
An Enhancement Guide
(2.2 MB)

This booklet provides information on the journey from QMS to SMS, including highlights of key differences, and how to most efficiently transition from one to the other.

QMS and SMS have a number of similar processes: both systems depend on measuring and monitoring; both strive for continual improvement; and both use a number of the same tools, such as audits. In short, an SMS may be thought of as an enhanced and expanded QMS.

For printed copies, see Ordering

Back to Top

Cover of booklet: Implementing Safety Management Systems - Guidelines for Small Aviation Organisations

Implementing Safety Management Systems
Guidelines for Small Aviation Organisations
(1 MB)

This booklet contains information designed to help small aviation organisations that are certificated under the Civil Aviation Rules mentioned in Advisory Circular AC00-4 Safety Management Systems, and any other small aviation organisations keen to proactively improve their safety systems. Such organisations may wish to implement an effective Safety Management System - one that is built-for-purpose without being difficult or resource-intensive.

This booklet has been written specifically for organisations that have a small number of staff or non-complex organisational activities. AC00-4 gives more specific definitions of what may constitute a 'small' organisation. This booklet may be read in conjunction with the other CAA Industry Resource Kit booklets.

For printed copies, see Ordering

Back to Top

Cover of booklet: Aviation Risk Management - An Introduction

Aviation Risk Management
An Introduction
(689 KB)

The CAA supports a risk-based approach to the implementation and conduct of SMS. In order to provide aviation organisations with the right guidance and tools to do so, this booklet focuses on what 'Safety Risk Management' means and how they can take this approach in an easy and effective manner.

It explains the steps that can be taken to successfully, systematically and proactively manage safety risk across all operational activities.

This booklet is based on application of AS/NZS IS O 3100:2009 Risk management principles and guidelines. Key phraseology and concepts have been compared with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Safety Management Manual, Third Edition.

For printed copies, see Ordering

Safety Management Systems

Resource Map

How to find the information you need

SMS Resource Map

SMS Resource Map (PDF for easy printing)

For printed copies, see Ordering

Cover of SMS folder


The resources above can be ordered as individual items, or as a complete SMS Resource Kit. Just email giving us your postal address, and specifying which items you would like.

Printed versions of the Case Studies below are not available.

Back to Top

Implementing SMS - Industry Case Studies

The CAA SMS Case Study Series aims to provide an insight into selected aviation organisations that have started the journey of implementing a Safety Management System.

There are four case studies, each looking at a New Zealand aviation operation that has offered to share their insights.

Each case study looks at specific elements of the Safety Management System that the organisation is actively applying and successfully using, along with advice that they may have for other organisations implementing an SMS.

Cover of SMS Case Study One - Air New Zealand

Case Study One - Air New Zealand (1.3 MB)

The scope of Air New Zealand’s operations, regulatory requirements, support capability and size, means it is critical for formal safety, quality and risk management systems to be in place. These are implemented throughout the airline, all subsidiaries and other key stakeholders. Managing change in a risk-based manner is important, particularly in cases where commercial and operational needs must be taken into account.

Cover of SMS Case Study Two - Oceania Aviation

Case Study Two - Oceania Aviation (582 KB)

The Oceania Aviation Group (MRO) is made up of several General Aviation companies that have been acquired in the last ten years by Oceania Aviation Limited. Employing over 200 staff, the group now consists of four limited liability companies: Oceania Aviation, Aeromotive, Flight Line, and Sky Sales. The Group is overseen by two directors and a general manager. Overall they maintain multiple certifications across a number of regions and applications, including CAA, RNZAF, EASA and CASA PNG. This includes the recent addition of a Part 148 capability.

Cover of SMS Case Study Three - Taupo Airport

Case Study Three - Taupo Airport

Commencing operation in 1966, Taupo Airport is located on New Zealand’s North Island, approximately 8 km south of the Taupo town centre and next to New Zealand’s largest lake, Lake Taupo. It is certificated under Civil Aviation Rules, Part 139. The airport is operated by the Taupo Airport Authority, and is a joint venture between the Taupo District Council and the Government, with both parties holding a 50 per cent interest.

Taupo Airport is the second busiest non-towered airport in the country. The airport receives scheduled regional flights, charter and private aircraft. Charter flights include a considerable number of International Corporate Jet traffic. The airport is also located within a Mandatory Broadcast Zone (MBZ) in uncontrolled (G) airspace with type C airspace starting at 6500 ft AMSL, that is under Christchurch Control.

Cover of SMS Case Study FourCase Study Four - Massey University School of Aviation

 The Massey University School of Aviation was established in 1990, and first offered the Bachelor of Aviation (Air Transport Pilot) in 1993. This three year full-time degree provides students with the opportunity to undertake both practical and theoretical study. Two of the three years include the students’ flight training. On graduation, students hold a New Zealand Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) with multi-engine and instrument rating, plus all credits for the New Zealand Air Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) theory examinations. In 2011, Massey University School of Aviation formed a partnership with the Air New Zealand Aviation Institute to facilitate graduates undertaking an ‘airline induction course’, which provides preferred status for employment.

Back to Top

Further Information

Earlier SMS Papers

Safety Management International Collaboration Group (SM ICG)
Transport Canada
UK Civil Aviation Authority

Back to Top