Volume 7 · Issue 5 · May 2002
A Look at Recent Aerospace Industry Standards Developments
AS/EN/JIS Q 9100 Is a Launch Point for Aerospace Quality
By Dale Gordon
Nine months after alignment of the aerospace sectors
quality management system (QMS) requirements with ISO 9001:2000,
the sectors efforts to reduce complexity and variation
in the supply chain are continuing at a rapid pace. At the
most recent meeting of the International Aerospace Quality
Group (IAQG) in Kyoto, Japan, in March 2002, progress was
achieved in several areas. However, many challenges also lay
ahead for the IAQG.
On the standardization front, AS/EN/JIS Q 9100:2001, Quality
management systemsAerospaceRequirements, has been
gaining wide acceptance since its publication in July 2001.
It is published in the Americas by the Society of Automotive
Engineers (SAE) as AS9100 (now numbered as revision A to include
the year 2000 version of ISO 9001), as EN9100 in the European
Union (EU) by the European Association of Aerospace Industries
(AECMA) and finally as JIS Q 9100 in Japan by the Society
of Japanese Aerospace Companies (SJAC). The aerospace standard
has been published in several languages, including French,
German, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and others in addition
to its base English edition. A Chinese translation is also
in development within the Peoples Republic of China.
The IAQG also completed work at its meeting in Kyoto on two
supplemental conformance standards linked to AS/EN/JIS Q 9100
that are designed for the registration of specialized organizations
and are based on work already performed in Europe. The two
- AS9110 (EN9110), Quality system requirements for aerospace
maintenance & repair facilities (Note: the Japanese
Industrial Standards Committee (JISC) is planning to develop
a JIS9110 once AS9110 is completed that will likely be equivalent
to the two other versions.)
- AS9120 (EN9120), Quality system requirements for aerospace
distributors. AS9120 will replace SAEs AS7103 once
published. At present, the JISC does not have an interest
in developing an equivalent to AS/EN9120.
Both standards are in the final stages of reconciliationwhich
involves final agreement on minor changes in punctuation and
other minor adjustmentsamong the three international
sectors, and publication is expected by mid-2002 or the third
quarter at the latest. Both are based on ISO 9001:2000 and
should be easy to incorporate into the quality programs of
the organizations for which they are intended. Many companies
are expecting to use them immediately. In addition, the IAQG
has completed the long-awaited revision to the industry-approved
checklist to AS/EN9100 that is now available as AS9101A from
SAE in the Americas and as EN9101 from AECMA in Europe.
A key goal of the IAQG in developing AS/EN/JIS Q 9100:2000
was to establish a process for verification of aerospace supplier
conformance with internationally recognized and accepted QMS
requirements. This would lead to the sharing of QMS audit
results by customers by moving from second-party to third-party
audits and thus would result in the elimination of redundant
audits of aerospace suppliers. The development of the IAQG
processes for the sharing of QMS audit results is also progressing
In addition, the process for approval of registrars/certification
bodies as being qualified to assess and register an aerospace
supplier to AS/EN/JIS Q 9100:2001 and for the qualifying of
the associated auditors has been implemented, with registration
schemes fully operational in the Americas, Japan and the United
Kingdom while other parts of the EU are coming on board.
Registration Activity and Items on IAQGs Radar
There are presently more than 20 registrars approved to conduct
AS9100A audits in the Americas alone. A key development related
to this is the increasing number of major aerospace contractors
requiring the use of AS9100A down through the supply chain
in the Americas, which is driving the registration process
into full swing, with the AS9110 and AS9120 specifications
expected to do likewise in their specialized areas.
The IAQG has agreed on an overall approach to the requirements
for registration as well as the requirements under which the
Americas, Asia-Pacific region and EU will each run equivalent
accreditation and registration programs. This will result
in the ability for one certificate of registration to AS/EN/JIS
Q 9100 to be globally acceptable to all IAQG member companies.
This may have the most significant impact in the United States.
As of May 1, 2002, there were more than 75 certificates of
registration to AS9100A in the United States, with more than
360 certificates of registration to AS9000:1997 (the predecessor
to AS9100) due to be upgraded to AS9100A by December 15, 2003.
The US National Accreditation Program (NAP), which is jointly
run by the Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB) and the American
National Standards Institution (ANSI), was the only body to
qualify accredited registrars to conduct AS9000 registrations,
making the US registration scheme the only one to have previously
offered AS9000 certificates. With the completion of AS9100:2001,
other accreditation bodies have become involved in the qualification
of accredited QMS registrars, including INMETRO of Brazil
and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).
Although the IAQG is not currently tracking registration
activity, it is working on development of a database to track
AS/EN/JIS Q 9100 registration data to increase the acceptance
of registration certificates throughout the industry. It is
hoped that the IAQG database will be operational and available
by the end of 2002.
Having completed most of its objectives, the IAQG is now
moving to tackle some tougher issues. The Kyoto meeting was
attended by quality assurance representatives from more than
50 major aerospace companies from around the world, who began
addressing such issues as global approval of special processes
and subtier supplier quality control.
By virtue of the regulatory requirements that affect the
aerospace sector, prime aerospace companies and their major
suppliers are ultimately seen as responsible for product quality
controls and quality management at all levels of the supply
chain, making standardization of approvals for special processes
as well as approvals of subtier suppliers important objectives,
but very difficult to do and even more difficult on which
to reach sector-wide consensus.
Other items on IAQGs radar include software control,
direct shipment requirements, global measures of supplier
performance and electronic documents and signature authority.
It is recognized that these issues have a significant impact
on product quality and need to be solved from an industry
In addition, the IAQG is receiving attention and participation
from the outer reaches of the aerospace sector, literally.
In attendance at Kyoto were representatives from the US National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Japanese
Space Agency and other space entities. Their involvement is
the result of the outer space community having taken to embracing
the AS/EN/JIS Q 9100 requirements. IAQG members are also working
with the US Department of Defense and NATO to help facilitate
the use of common requirements for aerospace procurements.
The next meeting of the IAQG will be in Italy the fall of
2002, with further progress expected and several more improvements
to managing and controlling the supply chain to be introduced,
worked upon and implemented. Although the US Federal Aviation
Administration and its equivalents around the world continue
to insist on QMS inspections by their own agents, there is
a growing acceptance even in the regulatory area of the value
of implementing and maintaining QMSs based on AS/EN/JIS Q
9100, just as there is growing acceptance of registration
to these requirements within the aerospace sector itself.
Dale Gordon is currently a Quality Director for Rolls-Royce
North America, a world leader in gas turbine engines and
power systems for commercial and military aviation and power
generation markets. He has served for more than 25 years
in the aerospace industry in a range of quality management
positions within his company, including Supplier Control,
Quality Engineering, Quality Systems Manager, Operations
and Customer Facing Business. Throughout his career, Mr.
Gordon has been working with quality systems and has taken
a 5,000-person facility through the ISO 9001 registration
process. He has co-authored a primer on quality systems
and is the past Chairman of the Americas Aerospace Quality
Group (AAQG), an SAE subcommittee that created the AS9000
standards. Mr. Gordon was the US lead delegate to Working
Group 11 of TC 20, which created the aerospace QMS requirements
standard that is now published by SAE as AS9100 in the Americas,
by AECMA as EN9100 in Europe and by JISC as JIS Q 9100 in
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