Operating safely

Operating Safely

American aspires to be nothing less than the safest airline in the world — for our customers and our workforce. We were proud to transport over 199 million customers in 2022. To ensure that we operate every flight safely and protect our people, we insist on a culture where all team members believe they can personally drive our safety efforts. We encourage them to ask questions and report safety hazards, concerns and incidents.

Our Safety Management System

The safety of our customers and team members is guided by our Safety Management System (SMS), an organization-wide approach to identifying and managing risk with the intended result of assuring the safety of our operations and team members.


Safety Policy

Establishes senior management’s commitment to continually improve safety; defines the methods, processes and organizational structure needed to meet safety goals


Safety Assurance

Evaluates the continued effectiveness of implemented risk control strategies; supports the identification of new hazards


Safety Risk Management

Determines the need for, and adequacy of, new or revised risk controls, based on the assessment of acceptable risk


Safety Promotion

Includes training, communication and other outreach to grow our safety culture within all levels of the workforce

Workers load baggage into a plane on the tarmac

Safety culture is the foundation of any SMS, with trust at the core. At American we believe in a Just Culture approach, which encourages each team member to take responsibility and have accountability for achieving the highest safety standards and results.

American’s safety assurance programs

The Safety Assurance component of our SMS stipulates how we use data and conduct quality assurance and internal oversight to validate the effectiveness of risk controls and the performance of the SMS. Safety Assurance verifies that risk controls in our operational processes continue to conform to requirements and remain effective in maintaining risks at acceptable levels. It is composed of several individual programs and initiatives, including the following:

Safety Action Programs

Everyone at American has a role to perform in ensuring that our people, customers and assets remain safe. Through our Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAPs) and Ground Safety Action Programs, team members can openly report potential hazards and mistakes without concern of fault, thus improving our operations along the way. American was the first airline to create an ASAP, and our programs give us significantly greater coverage than the industry average.

Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA)

FOQA is a voluntary safety program administered jointly by American and the Allied Pilots Association that uses routinely recorded flight data to proactively identify and correct deficiencies in flight operations. We routinely monitor all of our flights and use algorithms to look for potential safety risks and trends. The results help us better understand pilot performance and the operating environment.

International Air Transport Association’s Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)

As part of our commitment to transparency and monitoring, we are a registered participant in the IOSA program, an internationally recognized evaluation system designed to assess an airline’s operational management and control systems. An IOSA, which takes place every two years, creates a structured methodology with standardized checklists that are comparable on a worldwide basis, enabling and maximizing the joint use of audit reports.

Line Operations Safety Audits (LOSA)

Since launching our continuous pilot LOSA program in 2017, we have been sending highly trained pilot observers onto the flight deck to better understand work-as-done versus work-as-imagined. Observing our frontline team members in action and gathering safety-related data on environmental conditions, operational complexities and crew performance in real-time provides us with valuable insights for enhancing safety and resilience.

Learning and Improvement Team (LIT)

We created LIT in 2022 to collect and analyze data — falling under what is often referred to as a Safety 2 program — on what makes our pilots successful in their everyday work. LIT is composed of line pilots who are specially trained in flight deck observations and facilitated discussions. One of the key differences between LIT and American’s other Flight SMS programs is that LIT focuses on what goes well and why, thus providing a new safety lens through which to view the operation.

Cloudy skies on a sunny day

Visit our Resource Center for links to numerous American Airlines documents, policies, webpages and other sources of information about our company’s approach on various sustainability topics.

Sustainability at American Airlines

Our annual sustainability report details American’s approach to managing our priority sustainability issues, along with highlights of our progress and performance during the year.
American Airlines