NPA 2023-106

Ground handling requirements

This NPA proposes an EU regulation on ground handling and subsequent amendments to Regulations (EU) 965/2012 on air operations and (EU) 139/2014 on aerodromes. The purpose is to ensure a level-playing field for organisations providing GH services in Europe and to establish a baseline for the safety of these services.

The NPA includes a regulatory framework for a scalable management system, covering the management of safety, safety culture with a strong just culture component, minimum training standards for GH personnel based on development of competencies, a maintenance programme for the ground support equipment used, and general safety requirements for the provision of GH services. The GH regulation should rely on a continued use of industry standards and good practices and should enable their implementation on a voluntary basis. Their importance for the harmonisation and standardisation of GH operational procedures is more relevant than in any other aviation domain, therefore EASA proposes a new approach for the acceptance of industry standards used for GH services.

This NPA also includes oversight requirements for competent authorities, with a particular focus on cooperative oversight, which becomes a crucial element for an efficient oversight of pan-European GH organisations.

Amendments to Regulations (EU) 965/2012 and (EU) 139/2014 are proposed to address mutual exchange of safety-relevant information among the stakeholders involved in GH activities and enable smooth integration of the new management system elements required under the GH regulation. This NPA also presents proposed amendments to Reg. (EU) 2022/1645 (security management), to include the GH domain in its scope.

The proposed new rules are expected to provide a level-playing field in the GH domain, harmonise the provision of GH services in the EASA Member States and ensure end-to-end safety of aviation operations. The future GH rules are expected to ensure a consistent feedback loop on safety reports from authorities to organisations, a better understanding of the safety risks and assessment of mitigation measures, with the ultimate effect of improving the overall flight safety.