Graphic: RFDS IS-BAO Stage 3

RFDS in Queensland achieves gold standard in aeromedical aviation safety

Date published

26 Mar 2021

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) has reinforced its commitment to patient safety, becoming the first dedicated aeromedical provider in the Asia-Pacific region to receive the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) Stage 3 accreditation.

Stage 3 of the rigorous endorsement confirms that the RFDS demonstrates the highest aviation safety standards. It reinforces that these same standards are fully adopted and reflected within the organisation’s culture.

Issued by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), Montreal, the accreditation is only awarded to an operator following attainment of previous stages which involves independent audits every two years that examine all areas of aviation operations.

RFDS (Queensland Section) Head of Flying Operations Shane Lawrey said safety was key to the Flying Doctor’s operations and having its positive safety culture recognised by IBAC, was a huge achievement for the Service.

“Only two other aviation organisations in Australia have achieved Stage 3 and both are corporate jet operators. In contrast, the RFDS is a complex, high-volume, high-risk operation spanning healthcare and aviation,” Mr Lawrey said.

Graphic: RFDS IS-BAO Stage 3

“Our safety management systems have proven to compliment and integrate both operations, so to be formally recognised in this manner reinforces our commitment to the wellbeing of our staff and patients.”

In 2017, the RFDS (Queensland Section) became the first dedicated aeromedical provider to achieve IS-BAO Stage 1 accreditation in Australia, before again becoming the first to upgrade to Stage 2 accreditation in 2019.

RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said she was incredibly proud of the organisation’s ongoing pursuit of improved safety standards.

“The International Standard for Business Aircraft Operation is the benchmark of safety and professionalism accreditation for aviation providers such as the RFDS,” Ms Staib said.

“This achievement is the culmination of six years of hard work by our pilots, engineers and aviation support staff, who also helped us attain IS-BAO Stages 1 and 2 consecutively.

“To then achieve Stage 3 is testament to our staff’s dedication to the safety of their colleagues and the people of Queensland, who we have proudly served for the past 93 years.”

Lead Auditor, Dane Williams, who was part of the team conducting the in-depth accreditation assessment said he was equally impressed with the Flying Doctor’s commitment to safety.

‘It was refreshing and an absolute pleasure to work with the RFDS during their rigorous assessment against the 15 Chapters of IS-BAO Stage 3 Standards,” Mr Williams said.

“The organisation’s approach to adopting industry best practice, training, investment in equipment and an open and honest reporting culture confirms the RFDS is all about identifying hazards before they happen.

“During our three-day audit our team witnessed how the RFDS in Queensland openly share and report such threats, conduct thorough risk assessments and mitigate the identified hazards. This ensures the highest level of safety for their patients during aeromedical operations.”