Brussels—On 1 December, Transport Ministers from across the European Union’s Member States reached agreement on a new mandate for the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The agreement opens the door for final negotiations among the European Parliament, EU Member States, and the European Commission to agree on a final text. This step followed a 10 November vote in the European Parliament, where Members of the Transport & Tourism Committee overwhelmingly approved to open negotiations with the other EU institutions in order to update EASA’s existing ‘Basic Regulation.’
“All three institutions have now sent a strong signal in favour of modernising the Agency and the European aviation system as a whole,” said Pete Bunce, President and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). “There is clear political will to ensure a risk-based, proportionate approach guides all future EASA work.
“For general aviation,” Bunce continued, “it is imperative that we have the appropriate level of regulation for each activity, combined with efficient oversight that facilitates the development of new and innovative products. With the Basic Regulation amended so infrequently, we must ensure these concepts are framed correctly for the future.”
All sides have moved in the direction of a future EASA framework that aims to be flexible, with most of the proposals focused on moving from prescriptive to more nimble, lower-level regulations and standards. The proposals also contain clear language on the need for efficient certification and validation procedures, along with new roles for EASA in the areas of oversight, security, research, and beyond.
“There are many good elements with the current proposals, although we remain convinced that more needs to be done to improve safety analysis of general aviation aircraft across Europe,” Bunce noted. “In this vein, the Parliament has shown itself once again as being committed to addressing one of the most glaring omissions in European safety efforts—the lack of basic aggregate data sharing among EU Member States. We very much hope the Parliament’s desire to improve this situation will be enshrined in the regulation.
“In addition, we strongly support allowing EASA the possibility to become the responsible regulatory authority for companies spread across Member States, through the issuance of pan-European certificates. This is a logical step forward for a pan-European safety agency, and we simply cannot afford to see this option thwarted at the final hurdle by unnecessary obstacles,” concluded Bunce.
The three-way negotiations are expected to begin in 2017, with the Parliament’s delegation led by the lead Member of European Parliament, Mr Marian Marinescu, and the Member States represented by Malta, which will hold the rotating EU Presidency. It is expected that by mid-2017 all parties will agree on a final regulation, which will become law upon publication.
In December 2015, the European Commission published a proposed revision of the existing EASA Basic Regulation (EC) No 216/2008.