SMS - Europe

Safety Management at the Member State level

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

For an overview of the various SSPs, Safety Plans and related documents published in various States click here.

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 will be progressively extended to other domains of the aviation system.

The European Commercial Aviation Safety Team (ECAST), the Commercial Air Transport component of the European Strategic Safety Initiative (ESSI) has published material for organisations needing to implement a Safety Management Systems (SMS). The objective is to promote best practices to support industry implementation of European and international regulatory provisions. The materials promoted by ECAST can be found here.

In addition, a European Operators Flight Data Monitoring Forum (EOFDM) provides a voluntary partnership between aircraft operators and the regulators in order to promote the implementation of FDM programmes and to help operators to get the maximum benefit from such programmes. 

The European Helicopter Safety Team (EHEST), the rotorcraft component of the European Strategic Safety Initiative (ESSI) and the European branch of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), has published two Safety Management Toolkits for complex and non-complex operators comprising two sample Safety Management Manuals and Emergency Response Plans. This material was developed with consideration to Annex III to Regulation (EU) 965/2012 (Part-ORO Subpart GEN, Section II 'Management System' and related AMCs and GM). EHEST has also published the Leaflet HE5 - Risk Management in Training, which uses and demonstrates the approach described in the EHEST Safety Management Toolkits. EHEST, IHST and BHA also encourage operators to use IS-BAO, developed by IBAC.

Additionally to the above, EASA, the Member States, the European Commission, our safety initiatives, the Performance Review Body and Eurocontrol have taken a more 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.


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. Production of 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.

To download a full article explaining the pioneer approach taken in Europe click here.

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 easp [at] easa [dot] europa [dot] eu

The EPAS summits

The EPAS implementation and review summits consist of face to face meetings attended by the States, the European Commission and the Agency aimed at evaluating how the EPAS is being implemented as well as in which ways the approach can be improved to better coordinate efforts; hence making a difference in the way we manage safety in aviation. They check the pulse of the implementation by fostering discussions on relevant matters.

Previous summits can be found via our event section on the website.

EPAS deliverables

Each edition of the EPAS, when published, incorporates hyperlinks to the deliverables of the actions it contains (see each year’s Status Report). Those deliverables that are not published anywhere else are listed below:

Back to top