What are alternative means of compliance (AltMoC)?
Implementing Rules of the EASA Basic Regulation define AltMoC as follows:
‘Alternative means of compliance’ mean those means that propose an alternative to an existing Acceptable Means of Compliance or those that propose new means to establish compliance with Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 and its Implementing Rules for which no associated AMC have been adopted by the Agency´.
Complementing the legal provisions, the Agency has developed further criteria that may be used to characterise an AltMoC:
- It is technically different in character to the published EASA AMC;
- A form included in EASA AMC is changed in layout or by adding/deleting fields;
- A change of numbering, e.g. table of contents of the Operations Manual, is not per se an AltMoC, only if the order or numbering of whole chapters is changed (e.g. Chapter 7 becomes Chapter 8).
Editorial changes to an EASA AMC are not considered to constitute an AltMoC.
Please note that the above can only be a general guideline. Organisations and competent authorities may need to evaluate each case to establish if a means of compliance is an AltMoC.
Am I obliged to follow an AMC?
AMC illustrate a means to comply with the rule, but not the only means: they are non-binding. So you are not obliged to follow an EASA AMC, and may choose other means to demonstrate compliance with the rules.
The implementing rule has no corresponding EASA AMC. Consequently, is any means of compliance an AltMoC?
We need to distinguish between new means of compliance proposed by competent authorities and those by organisations.
If the competent authority proposes a means of compliance for use by organisations, it is most likely an AltMoC. The reason is that the AltMoC might express expectations that need to be met by the regulated entities so as to establish rule compliance.
Conversely, if the competent authority establishes a means of compliance for itself (i.e. to Part-ARx) or an organisation proposes a means of compliance, it might be a description of an organisational process or standard operating procedure, implementing for example a prescriptive implementing rule. Process descriptions or detailed standard operating procedures reflecting the work of an individual entity are not per se AltMoC.
Nevertheless, the above can only be a general guideline. Organisations and competent authorities may need to evaluate each case to establish if a means of compliance is an AltMoC.
Why should I follow an AMC?
Because if you follow the EASA AMC there is a presumption that you comply with the rules, and competent authorities will recognise that compliance without the need for any further demonstration of compliance from your side. If you choose to use alternative means to comply with the rule, you will need to demonstrate compliance with the rule to your competent authority. The burden of proof of compliance rests fully with you.
Can competent authorities approve alternative means of compliance (AltMOC) ?
Yes, provided that it is demonstrated that these alternative means provide for compliance with the rules. Regulated persons may propose an alternative means of compliance (AltMoC) to their competent authority, and, provided they can demonstrate that compliance with the rules is achieved, the competent authority may approve such AltMoC. It is important to note that this approval will be granted on an individual basis: Other applicants wishing to make use of the same AltMoC must obtain individual approval from their competent authority.
Is EASA the only body entitled to issue AMC?
EASA is the only body that is entitled to issue AMC that may be used by all regulated persons and all competent authorities and that provide for a presumption of compliance with the rules.
Competent authorities may issue further material as they find necessary to fulfil their task of implementing European law. In this case, however, these are named Alternative Means of Compliance (AltMoC), and they commit only the authority that issued or approved them. This means that they cannot oblige regulated persons to apply AltMoC instead of EASA AMC; AltMoC do not affect the presumption of compliance with the rules of EASA AMC. It also means that other competent authorities are not required to follow or accept these AltMoCs. The Agency will monitor that competent authorities properly manage the process of issuing their own means of compliance through the EASA standardisation activity.
If a competent authority intends to approve other means of compliance than those adopted by the Agency or if it intends to develop its own means of compliance, is there any obligation on the competent authority to submit these means of compliance to EASA for approval?
There is no such obligation: except in cases where the EASA is itself the competent authority, the implementation of rules rests within the sole remit of Member States. However, within the fields covered by the Aircrew, Air Operations, Aerodromes and Air Traffic Controllers’ Licences Regulations there is an obligation to notify such AltMoCs to EASA. This requirement for notification will later on be included in the airworthiness regulations.
EASA will use the information received for the purpose of standardisation and for its rulemaking process. Certain AltMoC may be proposed to be adopted as EASA AMC, through the regular rulemaking process to ensure proper stakeholder consultation.
Is there any obligation on competent authorities to translate the AMC in the national language, if they decide to implement them?
This is an internal issue related to each national administrative order. Moreover it is up to each competent authority to organise its own internal processes to help its regulated persons complying with Community law. This will dictate, on a case by case basis, what to do with the EASA AMCs. The internal documents are therefore in the language the competent authorities chooses. It is recommended however that competent authorities systematically use EASA AMCs to produce guidance to persons under their jurisdiction.
What happens to current practices and authority approved means of compliance that were established before the entry into force of Regulations, e.g., (EU) 1178/2011 and 965/2012 and which deviate from EASA AMC?
These means of compliances or practices might constitute an AltMoC. The transition periods to the new Regulations should be used to identify such issues. The organisation or competent authority need to assess these means of compliance and possibly submit them as AltMoC.