EPAS Strategic Priorities and Actions

7 July 2020

You can learn more about the European Plan for Aviation Safety (EPAS) on this page and understand the safety priorities and actions at European Level so that you can see how your operations might be impacted by changes to regulations and other strategic activities. 

What is the EPAS?

The EPAS is a key component of the European Aviation Safety Programme and provides a coherent and transparent framework for safety management in Europe as a region and also at national level in the EASA Member States. It also supports the goals and objectives of the ICAO Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP).

The 2021-2025 edition that was published on 15th January 2021 includes 170 actions, among which the complete set of EASA rulemaking tasks. A new structure for the list of actions is presented to better highlight key risk areas and improve the link with the domain risk portfolios presented in the EASA Annual Safety Review

EPAS Structure

This new EPAS edition features the following novelties and highlights:

  • Volume I ‘Strategy’: A new section ‘operational context’ is included to provide information on the European aviation system in terms of size, nature and complexity, describing the pre-COVID-19 situation, as well as the impact of the crisis.
  • Volume II ‘Actions’ is shaped by the need to alleviate the regulatory burden on stakeholders in response to the unprecedented crisis affecting the entire aviation sector, while maintaining a high, uniform level of aviation safety. For this purpose, action priorities and timelines were reviewed and adjusted in consultation with the Agency’s Advisory Bodies. 
  • A new Volume III ‘Safety Risk Portfolios’ provides the set of available domain risk portfolios established through the European Safety Risk Management process. It describes the key risk areas and underlying safety issues affecting the European aviation system, identifying those requiring further action. Following an analysis of specific risks and safety issues arising from the current crisis, a dedicated COVID-19 risk portfolio is also provided.

EPAS Strategic Priorities

The EPAS has the following strategic priorities and key actions that cover the Air Ops area:

Improve safety by improving safety management

The following key actions are already in progress and there will be a specific safety promotion community website launched in late summer on safety management.  

  • Incorporate safety management requirements in initial and continuing airworthiness (RMT.0251).
  • Support states in implementing State Safety Programmes/ Plans (MST.001/ 028)
  • Safety promotion to support SMS implementation.  
  • Support the implementation of a robust oversight system across Europe (MST.032).

Human factors

EASA monitors data relating to human performance and assesses feedback from stakeholders, through the Human Factors CAG (HF CAG) and through other regulatory and oversight activities. As the aviation system changes, it is imperative to ensure that human factors and the impact on human performance are taken into account, both at service provider and regulatory levels. The HF CAG have completed safety issue assessments on the following:

  • HF competence for regulatory staff.
  • Design and use of procedures.

The following safety issue assessment are underway: 

  • Senior management knowledge, competence and commitment to HF/ HP.
  • Organisational and individual resliance.
  • Training effectiveness and competence.
  • Fatigue.

Competence of personnel

As new technologies and new business models or operational concepts emerge on the market and the complexity of the system continues to increase, it is of key importance for aviation personnel to have the right competencies and for training methods to be adapted to cope with new challenges. It is equally important for aviation personnel to take advantage of the opportunity presented by new technologies to enhance safety. Key actions:

  • Introduce evidence and competency based training and assessment for FCL and OPS, as appropriate (RMT.0194, RMT.0599 and SPT.012).
  • Modernise the European pilot licensing and training system (RMT.0194).

Impact of safety on security

The air ops community sees are exposed to both cybersecurity and conflict zones threats. The key actions in these areas include:

  • Implement a regulatory framework for cybersecurity covering all aviation domains (RMT.0720).
  • Introduce new cybersecurity provisions in the certification specifications (RMT.0648).
  • Disseminate information to air operators in order to mitigate the risk associated with overflying conflict zones (SPT.078).

Impact of socio-economic factors on safety

The interdependencies between civil aviation safety and related socio-economic factors are an important strategic consideration. In particular, it addresses the need to address socio-economic risks to aviation safety. EASA is also required to consult relevant stakeholders when addressing such interdependencies and every three years publish a review, which shall give an objective account of the actions and measures undertaken, in particular those addressing the interdependencies between civil aviation safety and socio-economic factors. The main action is:

  • Set up a consultation process on interdependencies between civil aviation safety and socio-economic risks through SAB and the EU Aviation Social Dialogue platform.

Data4Safety

Data4Safety (also known as D4S) is a data collection and analysis programme that aims at collecting and gathering all data that may support the management of safety risks at European level. This includes safety reports (or occurrences), flight data (i.e. flight parameters recorded on board the aircraft), surveillance data (air traffic data), weather data — these being only a few from a much longer list.

An initial proof of concept (PoC) phase has been launched with a limited number of partners to test the technical challenges as well as the governance structure of such a programme. The PoC is planned to be completed early 2021 and the programme will then open gradually the membership to the European aviation safety system stakeholders.

EPAS Operational Safety

At an operational level, the EPAS is designed to address the main safety risks identified from the analysis in the European Safety Risk Management process.

Aircraft upset (Loss of control)

Aircraft upset includes occurrences where the aircraft deviated from the intended flight path or intended aircraft flight parameters, regardless of whether the flight crew realised the deviation and whether it was possible to recover or not. It also includes the triggering of stall warning and envelope protections. The key actions include: 

  • Review and promote training provisions on recovery from upset scenarios (RMT.0196 and SPT.012).
  • For Member States to address loss of control in flight by taking actions at national level and measuring their effectiveness (MST.028).

Runway safety

This covers materialised runway excursions, both at high and low speed, and occurrences where the flight crew had difficulties in maintaining the directional control of the aircraft or of the braking action during landing, where the landing occurred long, fast, off-centred or hard, or where the aircraft had technical problems with the landing gear (not locked, not extended or collapsed) during landing. The key actions include:

  • Require on-board technology to reduce runway excursions (RMT.0570). 
  • Improve safety in relation to runway surface condition reporting and in-flight assessment of landing performance (RMT.0296 — Opinion No 02/2019 published on 22/02/2019).
  • Promote and implement the European Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Incursions (EAPPRI) and Excursions (EAPPRE) (RMT.0703 — Opinion No 03/2019 published on 24/06/2019). 
  • Member States to address runway safety by taking actions at national level and measuring their effectiveness (MST.028).

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