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Ageing Aircraft Structure Rule

On August 6, 2020 the European Commission published Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1159.

This Regulation amends the additional airworthiness specifications in Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/640 (Part 26) with respect to three topics that EASA proposed through opinions 12/2016 for ageing aircraft structures and 04/2019 for reduction of runway excursion and conversion of class D cargo compartments.

The ‘ageing aircraft’ rule addresses safety risks related to ageing phenomena in the structures of large aeroplanes. These risks include fatigue of the basic type design, widespread fatigue damage (WFD), corrosion, fatigue of changes and repairs, and continued operation with unsafe levels of fatigue cracking.  Design approval holders are required to develop data to support continuing structural integrity programmes for specific categories of large aeroplanes. At the same time, operators of those aeroplanes need to revise their aircraft maintenance programmes to incorporate those data and to address the adverse effects of changes and repairs on each airframe and its associated maintenance requirements. 

On January 29, 2021 the European Commission published Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/97 correcting the point 26.334 now included in the Easy access rule consolidated version.

Note
On April 28, 2021 the European Commission published Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/699 amending Part 21 in order to introduce considerations of ageing aircraft structures aspects during certification of major changes and major repairs. These amendments will ensure that future structural changes or repairs to large aeroplanes subject to ageing aircraft rule will not impair the level of safety achieved by compliance with the ageing aircraft rule.
Additionally, this amendment introduces a new requirement mandating any future holder of the type-certificate or restricted type-certificate for a large aeroplane to ensure that the continuing structural integrity programme remains valid throughout the operational life of the aeroplane.

Applicability of the Ageing Aircraft Rule

This Regulation applies to: 

  • operators of:
    • aircraft registered in a Member State; 
    • aircraft registered in a third country and used by an operator for which a Member State ensures oversight; 
  • holders of a type-certificate, restricted type-certificate, supplemental type-certificate or a change and repair design approval approved by the Agency in accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) No 748/2012 (Part 21) or deemed to have been issued in accordance with Article 3 of that Regulation; 
  • the applicants for a type-certificate or a restricted type-certificate for a turbine-powered large aeroplane, for which the application was submitted before January 01, 2019 and who are issued with the certificate after August 26, 2020 when specified in Annex I (Part-26).

The following material is currently available

When does the ‘Ageing Aircraft’ Rule become applicable?

The elements of Regulation (EU) 2020/1159 related to ageing aircraft will become applicable on February 26, 2021. However, each specific requirement has its own specific deadline for submittal of the required data to EASA and for the revision of aircraft maintenance programmes. 

The first of these deadlines are:

  • on May 27, 2021, submittal to EASA of compliance plans by TCHs 
  • on May 27, 2021, if applicable, submittal to EASA of the list of excepted aeroplanes by TCHs.
  • on August 25, 2021, submittal to EASA for compliance plans by STCHs

Info Sessions for Stakeholders

The following information sessions are planned for affected stakeholders. All the info-sessions will be conducted via webex.

Date Subject Timing Affected Stakeholders Enrollment Remarks
12/04/2021 Ageing aircraft rule for TCHs 14:00 - 17:00 ECT Type certificate holders and EASA bilateral partners Webex max 3 persons per organisation
14/04/2021 Ageing aircraft rule for STCHs 14:00 - 17:00 ECT Supplemental Type certificate holders and EASA bilateral partners Webex max 2 persons per organisation
15/04/2021 Verification of correct implementation of ageing aircraft requirements within aircraft maintenance programmes 14:00 - 17:00 ECT NAAs Webex max 3 persons per organisation
19/04/2021 Embodiment of ageing aircraft requirements in aircraft maintenance programme  14:00 - 17:00 ECT Operators or owners of turbine-powered large aeroplanes Webex max 2 persons per organisation

Each event will have a maximum attendance capacity of 100 persons.

Note:
Enrolment will be possible up until 3 weeks before each event and  participation will be confirmed by EASA 2 weeks before each event.

Contact:
In order to ensure efficient handling of queries related to ageing aircraft structures regulations and their implementation, including queries related to the organisation of info sessions, please use this dedicated mailbox:
ageing-aircraft [at] easa.europa.eu