EPAS 2024 Update

John Franklin • 24 January 2024
in community Air Operations

The European Plan for Aviation Safety (EPAS) is a key part of keeping aviation safe. It is published in a three-yearly revision cycle and the current period runs from 2023-2025, the strategic priorities for which is laid out in Volume I of EPAS.

The 2024 update to EPAS doesn’t change these strategic priorities, but there are updates to two other parts of the EPAS:

  • There are changes to the different safety actions outlined in Volume II following consultation with the EASA Advisory Bodies from the Member States and the industry. 
  • The safety issues in Volume III are updated based on the latest analysis from the European Safety Risk Management (SRM) process.

Check out the new version of the EPAS in full here

Volume II - Actions

There are 165 safety actions in the 2024 edition of the EPAS. These are split across the different action types as follows:

  • Rulemaking Tasks (RMT): 64.
  • Safety Promotion Tasks (SPT): 31.
  • Research (RES): 44.
  • Evaluation Tasks (EVT): 2.
  • Member State Tasks (MST): 21.
  • Implementation Support (IST): 3.

For 2024 there are 19 new EPAS actions, 3 rulemaking tasks, 6 new updates to existing rules, 1 Member State Task, 7 research and 2 implementation support. 

Highlights of the new or updated tasks

  • Introduction of new Rulemaking Tasks (RMTs):
    • to address safety concerns related to erroneous take-off parameters and position errors in Commercial Air Transport, 
    • to create a regulatory framework for Artificial Intelligence Trustworthiness, and
    • to ensure the safe integration of Higher Airspace Operations. 
  • New Implementation Support Tasks (IST):
    • facilitating the roll-out of the recently adopted ATM/ANS ground equipment conformity assessment regulatory framework and the U-Space regulations, respectively. 
  • Launch of new Research projects (RES):
    • targeting significant safety issues identified through the European Safety Risk Management process,
    • promoting systems safety and resilience,
    • exploring health safety measures in aircraft, and
    • preparing for the safe integration of new technologies.
  • Introduction of a new Member State Task (MST):
    • to improve data quality in occurrence reporting.

Other key actions in 2024

There are a number of important actions that will take place in 2024 that you might be interested to be aware of:

Completion of regulatory frameworks for

  • Conformity assessment of ATM ground equipment. 
  • Repository of information (AMC). 
  • Ground handling requirements. 

Continuation of work to build the regulatory frameworks for

  • Drones and VTOL.
  • ATCO licencing. 

Development of regulatory proposals for

  • Enabling electronic personnel licences. 
  • Establishing an AI trustworthiness framework.
  • Ensuring safe introduction of extended minimum crew operations.
  • Addressing take-off performance parameters and position errors. 
  • Continuing to develop a strategy on CBTA implementation.

Addressing aircrew fatigue and flight time limitations

  • Multiple rulemaking, safety promotion and research actions. 

Volume III - Safety Risk Portfolios (with Safety Issues)

There are 35 new safety issues introduced into the EPAS Volume III. This means that a total of 218 safety issues are identified in the different Safety Risk Portfolios (SRPs). They are prioritised in Volume III using the Safety Issue Prioritisation Index (SIPI). 

There are 3 new domains risk portfolios added this year, covering airworthiness, balloons and sailplanes. 

Finally the list of the 20 top cross domain higher risk safety issues has been updated - the lead domain area is listed with each issue 

  • ATM/ANS - Airborne Collision with Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) 
  • NCO Aeroplanes - Airborne separation 
  • SYS&CONJ - Airspace infringements by military UAS, aircraft, missiles, or debris spilling over from conflict zones 
  • CAT Aeroplanes - Approach path management 
  • CAT Aeroplanes - Fatigue (FTL)
  • ADR/GH - Ground staff movement around aircraft 
  • Airworthiness - Inadequate aircraft system design resulting in maintenance errors
  • Rotorcraft - Inadequate obstacle clearance during any flight phase 
  • CAT Aeroplanes - Inappropriate Flight Control Inputs 
  • Airworthiness - Insufficient consideration of flight crew human factors in Functional Hazard Assessments 
  • Airworthiness - Insufficient consideration of flight crew human factors in the continued airworthiness process of the type design 
  • CAT Aeroplanes - Insufficient Crew Resource Management (CRM) 
  • Human Factors /Human Performance - Lack of focus on risk-based decision making in complex systems
  • Airworthiness - Outdated certification bases established for major changes to type certificates
  • ADR/GH - Poor coordination and control of turnarounds 
  • NCO Aeroplanes /Rotorcraft - Poor pre-flight planning and preparation 
  • NCO Aeroplanes - Risks associated with parachute operations 
  • Human Factors/ Human Performance - State of Wellbeing and Fitness for Duties
  • Rotorcraft - Unanticipated yaw / Loss of tail rotor effectiveness 
  • ATM/ANS - Undetected occupied runway 

The release of the 2024 edition underscores EASA's unwavering commitment to advancing aviation safety in Europe.

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