What does the Agency do?
The European Aviation Safety Agency is the centrepiece of the European Union's strategy for aviation safety. Its mission is to promote the highest common standards of safety and environmental protection in civil aviation. The Agency develops common safety and environmental rules at the European level. It monitors the implementation of standards through inspections in the Member States and provides the necessary technical expertise, training and research. The Agency works hand in hand with the national authorities which continue to carry out many operational tasks, such as certification of individual aircraft or licensing of pilots.
The main tasks of the Agency currently include:
- Rulemaking: drafting aviation safety legislation and providing technical advice to the European Commission and to the Member States;
- Inspections, training and standardisation programmes to ensure uniform implementation of European aviation safety legislation in all Member States;
- Safety and environmental type-certification of aircraft, engines and parts;
- Approval of aircraft design organisations world-wide as and of production and maintenance organisations outside the EU;
- Authorization of third-country (non EU) operators;
- Coordination of the European Community programme SAFA (Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft) regarding the safety of foreign aircraft using Community airports;
- Data collection, analysis and research to improve aviation safety.
More details on these tasks can be found in the EASA homepage.
Is it correct that if an aircraft is certified in an EU country, it will already be certified in the remaining country members?
Yes, when an aircraft is certified in an EU country, it will be already certified in the remaining EU Member States, this is in line with article 11 - 'Recognition of Certificates' - of the EASA Basic Regulation.
Article 11, Section 1 states as follows:
"Member States shall, without further technical requirements or evaluation, recognise certificates issued in accordance with this Regulation. When the original recognition is for a particular purpose or purposes, any subsequent recognition shall cover only the same purpose or purposes."
What is the Agency?
EASA is an Agency of the European Union. As a Community Agency, EASA is a body governed by European public law; it is distinct from the Community Institutions (Council, Parliament, Commission, etc.) and has its own legal personality. EASA was set up by a Council and Parliament regulation (Regulation (EC) 1592/2002 repealed by Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 and amended by Regulation (EC) 1108/2009) and was given specific regulatory and executive tasks in the field of civil aviation safety and environmental protection.
What does the Agency not do?
EASA's remit does not encompass questions related to civil aviation security e.g. airport security measures, counter-terrorism.
Who is in charge of the Agency?
EASA is headed by an Executive Director, Mr. Patrick Ky. The work of the Agency is overseen by a Management Board, which represents EU Member States and the European Commission. The Executive Director is also answerable to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union and since a part of the Agency's budget is derived from the general budget of the European Union, its expenditure remains subject to the normal EU financial checks and procedures.
Where is the Agency located?
The Agency's headquarters are in Cologne, Germany. Full details of the Agency's address on the banks of the Rhine in Cologne can be found on the Contacts page.
Why is an EU Agency needed to look after aviation safety?
The Basic Regulation establishes common requirements for the regulation of safety and environmental sustainability in civil aviation. It gives the European Commission powers to adopt detailed rules for the Regulation's implementation.
The Agency answers the Regulation's need for 'a single specialised expert body', which delivers appropriate expertise to EU institutions to prepare these rules and verify their implementation at national level. Thus the Agency acts as an enabler to the legislative and executive process, a body which 'is independent in relation to technical matters and has legal, administrative and financial autonomy.'
There were further reasons behind the creation of a Community Agency. Past experience has suggested that common rules do not ensure uniform implementation in domains where technical discretion must be given to the certificating entities. In such cases the centralisation of certification tasks is the only effective way to achieve the desired uniform level of protection. This option was strongly supported by all interested parties. It also ensures that safety-related measures remain free of any political interference which might prejudice the current high standard of civil aviation safety enjoyed in Europe.
The Agency has been designed in order to ensure a degree of separation between the political process (the role played by the European Commission, Council and Parliament in drafting and enacting legislation relating to aviation safety) on the one hand, and the design and implementation of the technical measures necessary for safety, on the other. This explains why the Executive Director is granted independence in decision-making relating to the safety issues under the Agency's responsibility. This, however, is without prejudice to the chain of accountability to which the Agency and its Executive Director are subject.
Who was looking after aviation safety before the creation of EASA?
Except for the limited rules established by the Community in the field of airworthiness and maintenance through Regulation 3922/91, Member States were responsible for the regulation of civil aviation safety. Although they did their best to harmonise their requirements and practices in the Joint Aviation Authorities , this system led to differing interpretations of harmonised standards, which adversely affected the efficiency of regulation and increased compliance costs for the sector. Although the European Commission had been closely associated with the JAA process, the transition to the EASA system and decision-making based on the European Community method was decided as a significant improvement in the execution of certification and rulemaking tasks. It also reduces fragmentation at the international level, by providing the international aviation community with a European interlocutor with enhanced authority and credibility. JAA has since been disbanded except for its training section and is now called JAATO