All About AS9100 – The Aerospace Standard for Aviation, Space and Defense

All About AS9100 Aerospace

What is AS9100?

AS9100 is an internationally recognized aerospace quality management system (QMS) standard that uses ISO 9001 as its foundation, but has additional requirements specific to the Aviation, Space and Defense industries. These AS9100 requirements ensure quality, airworthiness, safety and consistency by addressing the areas of product conformance to requirements, process effectiveness, risk management, product configuration management, supply chain management, design verification and validation, and product monitoring and measurement.

There are two other management system standards that are based on AS9100 but are directed toward a specific type of supplier.  AS9110 is the Aerospace Management System for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Repair Stations.  It includes maintenance-specific requirements that relate to the processes of maintaining a commercial, private or military aircraft and the airworthiness of repaired and overhauled parts.  AS9120 is the Aerospace Management System for Aircraft Parts Distributors.  It is written for organizations that resell, distribute and warehouse aircraft and aerospace parts and components. AS9120 includes considerations related to the chain of custody, product traceability and control of records.

Who would benefit from AS9100 certification and why?

Aircraft manufacturers, defense contractors, and suppliers worldwide require AS9100 certification or compliance as a condition of doing business with them. That would include companies who design, develop, distribute, manufacture and support original equipment at the system or sub-system levels.

Prime manufacturers and their suppliers benefit from this international standard as it reduces multiple expectations and provides consistency resulting in reduction in verification audits and oversight costs and an improvement in supplier performance.

And AS9100 certification is beneficial to suppliers as it establishes common tools and methods, and common practices for quality improvement as used and shared by the industry’s leading companies. The goal is to continuously improve processes and to consistently deliver high-quality products while reducing non-value-added activities and costs.

Overall, AS9100 certification validates a company’s commitment to customer satisfaction, reduces risk, decreases product defect rates, focuses on continuous improvement and ensures quality products and services.

There are now more than 24,000 aerospace QMS certifications worldwide, with over 11,000 of those in the Americas.

Why was AS9100 created?

The AS9100 quality management system standard was initially released in October 1999 by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in the Americas and the European Association of Aerospace Industries (now the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe), and shortly thereafter by standards organizations in Japan and Asia. The standard was a collaborative effort of the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) which combined the requirements of SAE’s AS9000 and Europe’s prEN9000-1 standards. (These earlier standards were developed by a consortium of aerospace prime contractors to streamline aerospace quality standards and were also based on ISO 9001.) IAQG includes representatives from aviation, space, and defense companies in the Americas, Asia/Pacific, and Europe.

AS9100:2016, also referred to as AS9100D is the most recently published version of the standard which has gone through four revisions since 1999.  For more information about the history of AS9100 and how it has evolved, check out our blog: The History of AS9100.

How does AS9100 go beyond ISO 9001?

AS9100 was written to incorporate ISO 9001, which is accepted by most industry segments as the primary quality management standard. But, because quality and safety are critical to every aspect of the aerospace industry, additional requirements were added to go beyond ISO 9001. (For example: AS9100 added close to 100 additional requirements specific to aerospace to ISO 9001) These AS9100 requirements include:

  • Risk identification and assessment – risk mitigation practices are incorporated into the core of the QMS ensuring a focus on risk throughout the operational process.
  • Production and service provision – changes include production processes and controls on production equipment and software.
  • Planning for product realization – additional requirements to address project, risk and configuration management of products and control of work transfers.
  • Purchasing and purchased product – more guidance regarding the supply control, including the monitoring of supplier quality and delivery performance.
  • Design and development – additional requirements for the design verification and validation processes pertaining to testing and documentation, along with planning considerations for obsolescence and counterfeit parts.
  • Non-conforming processes – how to address nonconformances and take appropriate corrective action, including consideration of human factors root causes.
  • Supplier management – additional expectations for identifying and maintaining suppliers, including more flow down requirements.
  • Change management – provides a more concrete framework for handing and controlling changes.
  • Counterfeit parts prevention – an addition that provides requirements relating to the mitigation and prevention of counterfeit products.
  • Product safety – extra requirements that specifically address safety considerations throughout the product lifecycle.
  • Human factors – the standard recognizes human error as the leading cause of nonconformities and requires consideration of the human factors that could affect their processes.

Companies implementing a quality system compliant with AS9100 must also ensure that the additional requirements of their customers, regulatory agencies (such as the FAA, NASA and the Department of Defense) and local, state and national laws are also met and referenced within the system’s documentation

How is AS9100 maintained and what is OASIS?

IAQG developed a system to enhance the global harmonization of the Aerospace QMS. The Industry Controlled Other Party (ICOP) system utilizes accredited Certification Bodies (CB) to ensure requirements and best practices are met through external audits.  To keep track of all information regarding certifications, auditors and audit results, it is maintained by SAE in the Online Aerospace Supplier Information System® (OASIS) database.  The database is free to access.

AS9100 certification is valid for three years during which a CB conducts Surveillance Audits in the 1st and 2nd years and a recertification audit every 3rd year.  During each audit the CB auditor will evaluate internal audit results, management review meeting status, evaluate performance against objectives, look at corrective action status since the last audit, and any customer feedback and satisfaction, which includes nonconforming product or services. Core processes will be sampled annually, with the entire QMS being audited every 3 years. Any changes to the QMS between audits will always be evaluated at the next audit.

One of the most critical and valuable maintenance activities performed within a quality management system (QMS) is the internal audit. A well-planned, conducted, and reported internal audit would allow the QMS to continually improve and provide evidence of compliance to all of the AS100 requirements, as well as provide verification of the effectiveness a company’s processes and practices.  Learn more about internal audits – AS9100 & Internal Auditing: What You Need to Know.

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How does AS9100 compare to EN9100 and JISQ9100?

The aerospace quality standards are universally adopted, but have a different name on different continents. AS 9100 is used in the Americas, EN 9100 in Europe, and in the Asia-Pacific region JISQ 9100 (Japan) and KSQ9100 (Korea).  The requirements are the same but titles are different to reflect the region and publication date.  See the number of aerospace supplier certifications worldwide.

Why is certification to AS9100 important to your success?

The AS9100 standard sets the expectation for quality, safety and reliability and is also a valuable business tool.

  • AS9100 is a requirement for suppliers to the aviation, aerospace and defense industries around the world
  • AS9100 certification demonstrates that a supplier can provide high-quality products with no defects and inspires trust that they will deliver what is promised
  • Implementing AS9100 can help improve operational efficiency and minimize operational risk.
  • Suppliers who are certified have fewer quality escapes, fewer recalls, and have less problems than those suppliers who are not certified.


Serving aerospace and defense manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and repair stations since 2005, simpleQuE offers customized AS9100, AS9110 and AS9120, or ASA-100 (FAA AC00-56) consulting, internal auditing, and training services. Whether you are just beginning the certification process or looking for a partner for ongoing maintenance and internal audits, simpleQuE makes the process easier and more efficient. Contact us for a consult and see the difference that simpleQuE can bring to your quality management process.

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