Aviation connects people for business and pleasure. Quality Assurance (QA) in Aviation is very important in order to built customer trust and satisfaction. It ensures the products or services are up to the standard before delivering to the customer.
In the airline industry, the QA department makes sure that all activities like Flight Operations, Aircraft Maintenance (checks, repair, and inspections) and training of personnel, are being conducted in accordance with applicable requirements and standard procedures.
Safety is a prime concern in the aviation industry, and safety comes with quality.
What is Quality Assurance
Quality assurance has been in the corporate world and industry for many years. It is indicative of excellence and compliance with standards. In simple terms, Quality is the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence or an improvement in product quality.
It is brought about by strict and consistent commitment to certain standards that achieve uniformity of a product in order to satisfy specific customer or user requirements. For example, in manufacturing, it is a measure of excellence or a state of being free from defects, deficiencies, and significant variations.
Quality assurance focuses on planning, approach, techniques, and processes. It is working as a managing tool to prevent defects. It is proactive and preventative in nature.
According to ISO definition, it states that quality assurance is all those planned and systematic actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that an entity will fulfill requirements for quality. Both the customers and the managers have a need for quality assurance as they cannot oversee operations for themselves.
Quality assurance can be considered to be the sum of all actions taken to provide assurance that the desired outputs will be attained.
Quality assurance takes into account all aspects of a process, from planning to completion, and identifies weak points that could be prone to the introduction of errors. In essence, quality assurance is determining the gaps based on non-compliance with either the regulatory requirements or organizational requirements.
The primary purpose of the QA System is not to find defects, rather confirming the satisfactory operation of the system as a whole. The quality assurance audits are done by QA auditors.
Aviation Quality Assurance
Aviation quality assurance is a system for monitoring aviation equipment, programs, and procedures to ensure that the ICAO and state civil aviation regulatory quality standards are being met.
The QA system also provides a system of inspection to ensure that all maintenance on aircraft is properly performed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Aviation Quality System
In the aviation industry, the implementation and operation of a quality assurance program is usually the prime responsibility of a Quality Manager (QM). Quality Control (QC) Department is headed by QM in any organization. Quality Managers should acceptable to the competent authority of state civil aviation. Management oversight of QA systems is provided by the Internal Evaluation Program.
Quality System must include a Quality Assurance Programme that contains procedures designed to verify that all operations are being conducted in accordance with all applicable requirements, standards, and procedures.
Many people think QA and QC are the same and interchangeable but this is not true. QA and QC both are part of Quality Management however QA is focusing on preventing defect while QC is focusing on identifying the defect.
Quality Management System
Quality Management System (QMS) is a means of ensuring that an organization meets the requirements and continuously improves its processes. To achieve high quality, a management and control system is created to address the requirement. This is the Quality Management System, defined by ISO as the organizational structure, accountabilities, corporate resources, processes, and procedures necessary to establish and promote a system of continual improvement while delivering a product or service.
The quality systems do not investigate incidents or accidents for the risk assessment. Quality systems audit output of a process only for variance, and makes adjustments, as quality systems are focused on continuous improvement.
Quality assurance audits do not control quality, they establish the extent to which quality has been, is being, and will be controlled.
While QA auditors are not involved in any corrective action, they are required to analyze the deficiencies they find and identify the probable cause or causes. Quality Assurance is a proactive technique that identifies weaknesses before harm can result.
Typical responses could include a change or improvement in procedures, or changes to the training program, to name a few. Where appropriate, both immediate and long-term corrective actions are addressed. All action taken must be documented, and the quality assurance department notified. Future quality assurance audits will then track the results of the corrective action, to verify its effectiveness.
The QA auditors have no involvement in the planning, performance, recording, or certifying of the work audited. Isolating QA auditors from responsibility for the items they audit, avoids any potential conflict of interest, and emphasizes the fact that the audit is centered upon the performance of the system as a whole, not merely on its results. QA auditors simply identify existing or potential defects and bring them to the attention of the concerned department.