SMS - Europe

Safety Management at the Member State level

ICAO has mandated that all Contracting States (and therefore also EASA Member States) implement an SSP while organisations in the Member States are required to establish an SMS. Both elements are complementary.

Safety Management at the EU level

The first EASA SSP/SMS requirements have been adopted in the form of authority and organisation requirements with Regulation (EU) 290/2012 in the domain of flight and cabin crew and Regulation (EU) 965/2012 in the domain of air operations. Requirements have been progressively extended to other domains of the aviation system, such as ATM and Aerodromes and they will also be incorporated in Initial and Continuous Airworthiness. The current status on SMS rulemaking activities can be found here.

The utilization of data for decision-making is crucial for the implementation of safety management. Several EU initiatives contribute to this objective:

  • The European Operators Flight Data Monitoring Forum (EOFDM) provides a voluntary partnership between aircraft operators and the Agency in order to promote the implementation of FDM programmes and to help operators to get the maximum safety benefit from such programmes. 
  • An expert group of authorities is dedicated to the promotion of Flight Data Monitoring, the European Authorities Coordination Group on Flight Data Monitoring (EAFDM).
  • A Data4Safety Programme aims at changing from the current reactive approach to safety – which is based on accident and occurrence reports – to a proactive approach, analysing trends and situations which can lead to a safety hazard. Stakeholders within the aviation community will share data, information and knowledge in order to deliver safety benefits.

Additionally to the above, Industry organisations, Member States, EASA and the European Commission, have taken a proactive approach and worked collaboratively to develop the European Aviation Safety Programme (EASP). The EASP aids Member States in meeting their legal obligations and further improving safety.

The EASP

Certain systems such as the one set up in the European Union need further consideration when it comes to safety management principles and requirements.

The sharing of roles between the EU and the Member States, as described in the EASA Basic Regulation, makes it necessary for the Member States to work together with EASA to fully implement the SSP. Developing an EU equivalent of an SSP (i.e. the EASP) is a more efficient means of discharging this obligation and would support the EU Member and associated States in developing their own SSPs.

The main elements of the EASP

The proposed approach for European aviation safety is based on three elements:

  • A set of policies and objectives from political authorities (the strategy). The strategic elements are spelled out by the European Commission in a Communication to the Council and the European Parliament. To download the communication click here.
  • An integrated set of regulations and activities aimed at improving safety (the programme). The European Aviation Safety Programme (EASP) conforms to the ICAO SSP framework. The second version of the EASP, published in December 2015 is available here. The main changes are highlighted in the following report by the European Commission.
  • A high level safety issues assessment and related action plan. This Safety Plan, formerly called EASp and now called European Plan for Aviation Safety (EPAS), is updated every year. The following editions have been issued already:

For further information about the EASP or to provide feedback and help us improve it, do not hesitate to contact us at EPAS [at] easa [dot] europa [dot] eu.

The Safety Management TeB

Since October 2016, one of the technical bodies that are part of the new advisory structure of the Agency, the SM TeB, is dedicated to address SSP and EPAS implementation issues and exchange information with States by:

  • Supporting them with the implementation and maintenance of their SSPs;
  • Providing input and feedback on the implementation of the EPAS;
  • Providing recommendations to EASA and the European Commission on further actions required to support SSP/EPAS implementation;
  • Addressing issues stemming from the standardisation activities; and,
  • Discussing and providing recommendations where action is required on safety management implementation and implementation issues in relation to Regulation 376/2014 (in cooperation with the Network of Analysts).

All EASA Member States as well as observers are part of the SM TeB.

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