Can AS9003 be used as an alternative to AS9100 for a Quality System in a small non-complex aerospace businesses?

The AS9003-A Standard states that AS9003 is an “inspection and test quality system” for the aerospace industry by the America’s Aerospace Quality Group (AAQG), an industry organization made up of representatives from leading aerospace companies in both North and South America and sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International.

The AS9003 Standard has been revised using AS9100:2009 as the baseline document. AS9100:2009 requirements are applicable to noncomplex products and manufacturing processes, which have been incorporated into this standard and modified, as necessary, to reflect the intent of this standard.

AS9003 standardizes, to the greatest extent possible, inspection and test quality system requirements for suppliers that provide noncomplex products. Within the AS9003 Standard, the term “inspection and test quality system”” is referred to as quality system.

The globalization of the aerospace industry and the resulting diversity of regional and national requirements and expectations have complicated quality objectives, which includes:

  • To assure customer satisfaction, aviation, space, and defense organizations must produce, and continually improve safe, reliable products that meet or exceed customer, and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • Organizations have the challenge of purchasing products from suppliers throughout the world and at all levels of the supply chain. Suppliers have the challenge of delivering products to multiple customers having varying quality requirements and expectations.

The General SCOPE of AS9300A states the standard includes selected quality system requirements from ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100:2009 applicable to noncomplex products and associated manufacturing processes. The requirements of the AS9300A standard are intended to be applied in whole, without any exclusions.

Compliance with all corresponding AS9100 requirements is considered to meet/exceed compliance with the requirements of this standard. Therefore, the requirements specified in this standard are “complementary (not alternative) to contractual and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements”.

Also, the process approach described in ISO 9001 and AS9100 applies to this standard.

The following outline is from the AS9003A Standard. Those familiar with ISO 9001:2008 shall notice many similarities.


4.1.   General Requirements

4.2.   Documentation Requirements

4.2.1. Quality Manual

4.2.2. Control of Documents

4.2.3. Control of Records


5.1.   Management Representative


6.1.   Human Resources

6.2.   Work Environment


7.1.   Planning of Product Realization

7.1.1.      Configuration Management

7.2.   Customer-Related Processes

7.3.   Design and Development (Excluded by the Standard)

7.4.   Purchasing

7.4.1. Purchasing Process

7.4.2.  Purchasing Information

7.4.3. Verification of Purchased Product

7.5.   Production

7.5.1. Control of Production Production Process Verification  Control of Production Process Changes

7.5.2.  Identification and Traceability

7.5.3. Preservation of Product

7.6.  Control of Monitoring and Measuring Equipment


8.1.   Monitoring and Measurement of Product

8.2.   Control of Nonconforming Product

8.3.   Corrective Action

8.4.   Internal Audit

Once again AS9003-A is very similar to ISO 9001:2008 with some key factors from AS9100, which makes a robust quality management system framework. Therefore, one could make the case that AS9003-A is a viable alternate to AS9100 as Quality Management System.

Jack T. Bogle, Managing Partner
Access Business Communications, Inc.
International Management Systems
16835-236 Algonquin Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
(800) 644-2056