Opinion 11/2013

Licensing and medical certification of air traffic controllers

Opinion of the European Aviation Safety Agency for a Regulation laying down technical requirements and administrative procedures related to air traffic controllers' licences and certificates pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Commission Regulation (EU) No 805/2011

This Opinion addresses the licensing and medical certification of air traffic controllers and provides the final outcome of the rulemaking task RMT.0153 (ATM.003(a)) & RMT.0154 (ATM.003(b)), which started in

November 2009 and resulted, as intermediate steps, in Commission Regulation (EU) No 805/2011 laying down detailed rules for air traffic controllers’ licences and certain certificates pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008, as well as in the Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) 2012-18, published on 22 November 2012.

The objectives of this rulemaking task are to ensure and maintain the high and uniform level of safety while filling the existing gaps between the safety objectives and essential requirements of Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 and the currently existing Implementing Rule. This draft rule aims at facilitating the mobility of air traffic controllers and the integration within the Functional Airspace Blocks via the establishment of common training standards, including supporting AMC and GM and the recognition of licences at EU level, as well as via the establishment of a clear framework for the ATCO training organisations and the recognition of their certificates. Moreover, this draft rule establishes the necessary synergies for aeromedical examiners and centres involved in the medical certification of pilots and air traffic controllers. A smooth transition towards the truly harmonised qualification and training requirements and to their supporting uniform licensing scheme is ensured by the appropriately tailored mechanism to allow for a flexible opt-out time frame. Despite the required initial investments, this truly harmonised regulatory system throughout the EU will in the long term provide for cost-effectiveness and will contribute to the reduction of regulatory tasks at national level.

NPA 2012-18 has been subject to extensive public consultation. In addition to that, on 16 January 2013 a workshop was organised in Cologne which gave stakeholders the opportunity to discuss with the EASA and the relevant rulemaking group’s experts the proposed rules and their reasoning while the consultation was still ongoing. The workshop has been evaluated as being very beneficial and a key contributor to better understand the proposals and their justification. As a result of the public consultation EASA received 2926 comments. EASA reviewed the comments and provided responses thereto with the contribution of experts who participated in the drafting of the subject proposals and of individuals and organisations who were not members of the initial rulemaking group. The related Comment-Response Document was published on 1 October 2013. EASA expresses its appreciation to the stakeholders who have provided not only their individual comments, but expressed their coordinated views through the relevant European stakeholder groups and considers that the comments received contribute significantly to the production of balanced and efficient rules.

EASA trusts that the final draft proposal attached to this Opinion meets the expectations of the regulated persons and organisations and that its Explanatory Note provides sufficient clarification on the issues raised.

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