What is AS9100: The Quality Certifications For Aerospace Industry

Heena Sharma

Heena Sharma

The standard for setting the Quality Management System (QMS) guidelines for aviation, space, and defense organizations is AS9100. It has been developed by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG). It is based on features for a QMS in the ISO 9001 Quality Management System requirements.

To help you understand AS9100 better, we’ll discuss the following:

Table of Contents

What is AS9100?

As we’ve already mentioned at the beginning, AS9100 (AS stands for Aerospace Standard) is the international Quality Management System standard for the Aviation, Space, and Defense (AS&D) industry developed by IAQG. Its most recent version is called AS9100 Rev D (2016).

This standard aims to give suppliers the required details for developing and maintaining quality systems and creating safe and reliable products for the AS&D industry, keeping the civil and military aviation requirements in mind.

Therefore, when an organization says it’s AS9100 Certified”, it means that that particular organization meets all the requirements that come under AS9100.

AS9100 Rev D

Produced by IAQG, which consists of representatives from aerospace companies globally, it is built on the directives defined by ISO 9001 Quality Management System.

The group has taken the requirements in ISO 9001:2015 as is and just added certain conditions specific to the aerospace industry. They haven’t gotten rid of any existing requirements and have developed the AS9100 Revision D standard. So all the new additions in the document appear in bold and italics.

When was AS9100 released?

AS9100 was conceptualized and first released in 1999. The standard was initially created using ISO 9001:1994 as a basis. Over the years, it has been revised and updated several times:

  • AS9100 Rev A: Based on ISO 9001:2000, it was released in 2001 and incorporated the legacy system from ISO 9001:1994.
  • AS9100 Rev B: Based on updates from ISO 9001:2000, it was released in 2004.
  • AS9100 Rev C: Based on updates from ISO 9001:2008, it was released in 2009.
  • AS9100 Rev D: Currently in use, the latest version of the document is based on the ISO 9001 version issued in 2015 and released in 2016.

Benefits of AS9100

Implementing this standard can have multiple benefits for the different departments of your company, such as operations, sales, etc. Some of these benefits are:

  • Enhanced market recognition 
  • Added financial rewards for all your work
  • Happier customers that help you get glowing reviews
  • Smoother operations result in better performance and, ultimately, more sales.
  • Improved decision-making and an increase in the involvement of top management
  • Better employee involvement

What’s the difference between ISO 9001 and AS9100?

Except for a few additions tailored to the aerospace industry, the AS9100 document is the same as ISO 9001. Barring this, there are no significant differences that can be observed between the two.

However, if we look more closely, the similarities end when considering the additional requirements that come under AS9100. The primary distinctions are:

ISO 9001AS9100
Doesn’t include provisions for the different aspects of product realization.Has additional requirements for project management, risk management, configuration management of the products, and control of work transfers.
No requirements are listed for products that are purchased or need to be purchased.It has a dedication section that lists the requirements for supplier control.
No provisions for production processes or the control and support of acquired production equipment.The most significant distinction between the two certifications since it that defines by the difference between industries. It includes specific production and service provisions for the aerospace industry.
Doesn’t have any requirements listed for the handling of non-conformances. It covers specific requirements for managing non-conformances and handling processes and products. This also includes corrective actions to be carried out if a non-conformance is found.

Things to Keep in Mind

To steer clear of any confusion and understand AS9100 better, keep these points in mind:

  • Typical mutually exclusive, the three ASD standards are:
  • AS9100 – Design, Develop or Manufacture
  • AS9110 – Aircraft Maintenance Organizations
  • AS9120 – ASD Distributors of components such as electronics
  • The standard has cited numerous other guidance standards you’ll need to understand. Even though you won’t need any certification for these additional standards, they will help in understanding AS9100 better.
  • It doesn’t matter what size your organization consists of, one person or 1 million people.
  • Don’t confuse AS9100 as a product standard responsible for defining product quality. It requires you to manage your processes so that the result meets the customer’s requirements.
  • Don’t think that it’s a personal standard. A single person can’t get AS9100 certification.
  • To establish that your organization has been registered to AS9100 (and ISO 9001), the registrar will issue an AS9100 Certificate for three years.
  • Apart from helping your organization get market acceptance, another central point in AS9100’s favor is that all the primary Aerospace regulators endorse it:
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
  • US Department of Defense (DoD).
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Conclusively, your key takeaway from this blog should be that while AS9100 establishes what exactly is required from you, It does not identify the path you need to take to implement it. So you can decide the scope and set it in motion per your needs.

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Heena Sharma

About Heena Sharma

Heena Sharma is a successful entrepreneur. She is the founder of IS Auditr Inc, is a bootstrapped business that provides affordable ISO services for businesses.

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