The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has published a guidance document with respect to the carriage of electronic documents for aviation purposes.
Increased digitalisation has radically transformed many established processes and practices. The aviation sector is no exception to this and is already a big user of digital data and processes. With the advent of electronic solutions, such as the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), many of the paper-based documents found in an aircraft, such as manuals or charts, are already carried in a digital format. Aircraft involved in international operations are additionally required to carry originals or copies of certificates and other legal documents. However, ensuring that the correct and updated documents are on board the aircraft can be handled considerably more efficiently with the usage of digital rather than traditional, paper-based documents.
This guidance from EASA is addressed to the Member States and clarifies that there are no obstacles in EU law preventing the carriage of electronic documents for these purposes. The Guidance also provides clarification with respect to the EU legal framework for the issuance of electronic certificates, as well as examples of good practical implementation in Spain.
EASA hopes that this guidance will help the EU Member States and industry to accelerate their uptake of digitalisation. As aviation obviously goes beyond the borders of the European Union, the Agency is also actively cooperating with ICAO and major international regulators to promote the same level of acceptance of digital certificates.