Aerodromes (ADR)

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Aerodromes

ADR.1 Which aerodromes fall under the EASA Basic Regulation and its implementing rules?

According to Art. 4.3(a) of amending Regulation (EC) No 1108/2009 the applicability of the EASA Basic Regulation regarding aerodromes is as follows:

Aerodromes, including equipment, which are located in the territory subject to the provisions of the treaty, open to public use and which serve commercial air transport and where operations using instrument approach or departure procedures are provided, and:

  1. have a paved runway of 800 metres or above; or
  2. exclusively serve helicopters;

shall comply with this Regulation. Personnel and organizations involved in the operation of these aerodromes shall comply with this Regulation.

Furthermore, Member States can exempt certain aerodromes from having to comply with the European Rules when they have very little passenger traffic and cargo movements. For details on this possibility please refer to Art. 4 (3b) of the Basic Regulation (introduced by amending Regulation (EC) No 1108/2009) and Art. 5 “Exemptions” of the new Regulation (EC) No 139/2014.

In accordance with Art. 4 of Regulation 139/2014 Member States had to report the aerodromes in the scope of EASA and which of these shall benefit from an exemption. The current list is found here.

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ADR.2 Is an extension of the applicability of the EASA rules towards smaller aerodromes planned?

At this stage this is not planned. Recital (6) of Regulation (EC) No 1108/2009 amending Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 contemplates this as a future possibility:

(6) It  would not be appropriate to subject all aerodromes to common rules. In particular, aerodromes which are not open to public use and aerodromes mainly used for recreational flying or serving commercial air transport other than in accordance with instrument flight procedures and with paved runways of less than 800 meters, should remain under the regulatory control of the Member States, without any obligation under this Regulation on other Member States to recognize such national arrangements. However, proportionate measures should be taken by Member States to increase generally the level of safety of recreational aviation and of all commercial air transport. The Commission will re-examine in due time, extending the scope of application to aerodromes currently excluded in a modular manner, and taking full account of the impact this might have on such aerodromes.

The review of the EASA Basic Regulation, which was based on EASA opinion 01/2015 does not suggest any change of the applicability of the Basic Regulation to smaller aerodromes. Only a precision of the scope criteria is foreseen at this stage.

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ADR.3 What is the “Certification Basis” of an aerodrome?

The term “Certification Basis” (CB) is a key term in the area of oversight of aerodromes. According to Art. 8a, para. 2a and 2b of Regulation (EC) No 216/2019, as amended by 1108/2009, a certificate shall be required in respect of each aerodrome to which the European rules apply. The process of obtaining an aerodrome certificate involves the establishment of the aerodrome’s CB. The concept of the CB embodies the flexibility with which Europe takes account of the non-uniform infrastructure of its airport industry. The CB therefore allows for dealing with local issues by allowing local solutions to deviations from the CS. This CB is proposed by the applicant (usually the aerodrome operator) and is finally decided on by the Competent Authority, the State entity designated to certify and oversee aerodromes as per Art. 3.1 of Regulation (EC) No 139/2014. 

The CB consists of the following:

  • the applicable Certification Specifications (CSs) related to the type of aerodrome and the operations taking place there;
  • any provisions for which an Equivalent Level of Safety (ELOS) to that underlying the relevant Certification Specification has been proposed by the aerodrome and accepted by the competent authority;
  • any Special Conditions (SCs) determined and notified by the competent authority.

The CB can be a list of all the applicable Certification Specifications which are relevant to the aerodrome in question with an indication for each element how each CS is being met or if an ELOS is being argued for or if a special condition is being proposed. The CB would normally reference the documentation showing the compliance, the ELOS or the Special Conditions, as the case may be.

When the applicant has demonstrated that the aerodrome complies with the agreed certification basis as per ADR.OR.B.025 (in annex II of Regulation (EC) No 139/ 2014) one condition for the issuance of the certificate would be met. The certificate shall be considered to include the aerodrome’s CB, and any Deviation Acceptance and Action Documents (DAAD) based on Art.7 “Deviations from certification specifications” of Regulation (EU) No 139/2014, which may have been issued. (See also ADR.AR.C.035 (d) in Annex II of 139/2014 and answer to question ADR.5).

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ADR.4 When establishing the certification basis of aerodrome, to what extent will the Competent Authority be allowed to take into account the differing environments and location of aerodromes?

There are altogether three important “flexibility tools” in the process of the certification of aerodrome infrastructure and design. The establishment of an individual aerodrome Certification Basis (CB) includes the possible element of special conditions (SC), as described under ADR.AR.C.025 in annex II of Regulation (EC) No 139/2014. It gives the flexibility to the authority to allow deviations from the Agency’s Certification Specifications when the aerodrome is subject to topographical, physical or other limitations.

Additionally, the concept of the equivalent level of safety (ELOS), as described ADR.AR.C.020 (b) in annex II of Regulation (EC) No 139/2014, allows for technological solutions or alternatives to be introduced into the CB instead of complying with the applicable certification specification/s, under condition that the authority allows for an equivalent level of safety to be demonstrated. (see also the Agency’s Guidance Material for ADR.AR.C.020 and see also answer to question ADR4).

Furthermore, the concept and requirements introduced by Art. 7 “Deviations from certification specifications” of Regulation (EC) No 139/2014 allow competent authorities to accept “legacy” deviations from the certification specifications until the end of 2024. Such “legacy” deviations have to pre-date the coming into force of the said Regulation (i.e. have existed before 6 March 2014) to continue as long as they cannot be captured with the aforementioned concepts, are safety assessed, mitigated and undergo regular reviews to establish their continued legitimacy. Such acceptances may be formalised in what is called a Deviations Acceptance and Action Document (DAAD). (see also answer to question ADR5).

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ADR.5 What is the Deviation Acceptance and Action Document (DAAD) described in Art. 7 of Regulation 139/2014?

As a background it is useful to know that the EASA Basic Regulation (BR) had asked the Agency to provide solutions to deviations at existing aerodromes which Member States had already authorized before the entry into force of the BR and which stem from notified deviations from Annex 14 filed by the Member States to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The tool developed by the Agency to deal with such “legacy deviations” is found in Art. 7 “Deviations from certification specifications” of Regulation (EC) No 139/2014. It says the following:

Article 7   Deviations from certification specifications

  1. The Competent Authority may, until 31 December 2024, accept applications for a certificate including deviations from the certification specifications issued by the Agency, if the following conditions are met:

a. the deviations do not qualify as an equivalent level of safety case under ADR.AR.C.020, nor qualify as a case of special condition under ADR.AR.C.025 of Annex II to this Regulation;

b. the deviations existed prior to the entry into force of this Regulation;

c. the essential requirements of Annex Va to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 are respected by the deviations, supplemented by mitigating measures and corrective actions as appropriate;

d. a supporting safety assessment for each deviation has been completed.

  1. The Competent Authority shall compile the evidence supporting the fulfilment of the conditions referred to in paragraph 1 in a Deviation Acceptance and Action Document (DAAD). The DAAD shall be attached to the certificate. The Competent Authority shall specify the period of validity of the DAAD.
     
  2. The aerodrome operator and the Competent Authority shall verify that the conditions referred to in paragraph 1 continue to be fulfilled.

This means, that during the initial certification process all existing deviations at an aerodrome must undergo review. Then in a next step all deviations, which cannot be handled with the other flexibility tools provided (i.e. the Equivalent Level of Safety and Special Condition), and which pre-date 2014, can be accepted by the Competent Authority in a “Deviation Acceptance and Action Document” (DAAD), which would be attached to the certificate, but which does not form part of it.

Such a DAAD will have to describe the deviation, contain the outcomes of a safety assessment concerning the deviation and describe how the essential requirements of Annex Va to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 are nevertheless respected by the deviation, when supplemented by mitigating measures and corrective actions as appropriate. It could also be that the Competent Authority includes an action plan for the removal of the deviation at some point in the future. Despite the issuance of a DAAD the deviation/s should be regularly reviewed. 

When a DAAD is issued, there is no pre-defined expiry date. While a “validity period” must be stated, it must not necessarily be a temporal period. It can also be a traffic volume threshold or in relation to a change in the traffic mix (aircraft type) or a condition whereby the rectification (the “fixing”) of a deviation is related to the next time when a piece of infrastructure is changed, renewed, re-furbished or maintained. It is up to the authority to decide. However, after 2024 this possibility to issue a DAAD for newly certified aerodromes will no longer possible for the CAAs as this is a transitional measure only. 

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ADR.6 What is the Deviation Acceptance and Action Document (DAAD) described in Art. 7 of Regulation 139/2014?

As a background it is useful to know that the Basic Regulation (BR) asked the Agency to provide solutions to deviations at existing aerodromes which Member States had already authorized before the entry into force of the BR and which stem from notified deviations from Annex 14 filed by the Member States to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The tool developed by the Agency to deal with such “legacy deviations” is found in Art. 7 “Deviations from certification specifications” of Regulation (EC) No 139/2014. It says the following:

Article 7 Deviations from certification specifications

  1. The Competent Authority may, until 31 December 2024, accept applications for a certificate including deviations from the certification specifications issued by the Agency, if the following conditions are met:
    1. the deviations do not qualify as an equivalent level of safety case under ADR.AR.C.020, nor qualify as a case of special condition under ADR.AR.C.025 of Annex II to this Regulation;
    2. the deviations existed prior to the entry into force of this Regulation;
    3. the essential requirements of Annex Va to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 are respected by the deviations, supplemented by mitigating measures and corrective actions as appropriate;
    4. a supporting safety assessment for each deviation has been completed.
  2. The Competent Authority shall compile the evidence supporting the fulfilment of the conditions referred to in paragraph 1 in a Deviation Acceptance and Action Document (DAAD). The DAAD shall be attached to the certificate. The Competent Authority shall specify the period of validity of the DAAD.
  3. The aerodrome operator and the Competent Authority shall verify that the conditions referred to in paragraph 1 continue to be fulfilled.

This means in effect, that during either the conversion or the certification process all existing deviations at an aerodrome shall be reviewed or in case of conversion be compared with the new Certification Specifications (CS). Then in a next step all of those deviations that cannot be handled with the other flexibility tools provided (i.e. the Equivalent Level of Safety and Special Condition), and which predate 2014 can be accepted by the Competent Authority in a “Deviation Acceptance and Action Document” (DAAD), which would  be attached to the certificate, but which does not form part of it.

Such a DAAD will have to describe the deviation, contain the outcomes of a safety assessment concerning the deviation and describe how the essential requirements of Annex Va to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 are nevertheless respected by the deviation, when supplemented by mitigating measures and corrective actions as appropriate.

It could also be that the Competent Authority includes an action plan for the removal of the deviation at some point in the future and the deviations should be regularly reviewed. After 2024 this possibility of a issuing a DAAD for newly certified aerodromes will no longer possible. However, when a DAAD is issued, there is no pre-defined expiry date. It is worth mentioning though that “validity period” must not necessarily be a temporal period. It can also be a traffic threshold or in relation to a change in the traffic mix or a condition where “fixing” a deviation is related to the next time when a piece of infrastructure is changed, renewed, re-furbished or maintained. It is up to the authority to decide.

 

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ADR.7 Is it planned to have two different certificates, one for the aerodrome operator and one for the aerodrome infrastructure?

Based on the Basic Regulation and as detailed in ADR.AR.C.035 “Issuance of Certificates” under para (b) in annex II to Regulation (EC) No 139/2014 both options are possible.

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ADR.8 Does the EASA certificate replace the ICAO based certificate?

The future EASA-based certificate for European aerodromes shall only address the aerodrome safety part of the former (ideally ICAO based) national certificate; as such it does not affect the non-safety related elements which may form part of such certificate/ permit/ license. 

The EASA rules mirror the ICAO Annex 14 rule content 1:1, apart from a few exceptions about which EASA Member States are informed through a comparison exercise called EFOD (Electronic Filing of Differences). 

Moreover, it is at the discretion of the Member States to decide how to insert the new certificate into their own legal structure:  it may replace the former (safety) certificate or come in addition to it. By no means, however, should the insertion of the new certificate impair established privileges and legal finality of non-safety aspects. Recital 9 of Regulation (EC) No 139/2014 should be kept in mind:

(9) Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 only concerns aerodrome certificates to be issued by Competent Authorities in so far as safety aspects are concerned. Therefore, non-safety related aspects of existing national aerodrome certificates remain unaffected.

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ADR.9 Is it the case that only Member State authorities undertake audits and issue certificates or is it planned that EASA will do such audits in the aerodrome domain, like those done by the EU Commission for aviation security?

As of 2018 when the transition period has ended, the team of standardisation officers of the EASA aerodrome section will undertake standardisation visits to the Member States and their competent authorities covering the domain of aerodromes. In the context of such a standardisation visit, some (1-2) aerodromes in the visited Member State may be visited to better understand the interactions of the authority and the aerodrome operator with respect to certification and oversight.

However, EASA would not raise findings against the aerodrome operator. The addressee of the standardisation visit remains the Member States and their authorities.

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ADR.10 Safety Management System (SMS) for aerodrome operators: are the EASA rules regarding this area the same as those required by ICAO in Annex 19?

In line with ICAO Annex 19, the European rules for aerodromes require that aerodrome operators put into place and maintain a management system, which contains a system to manage safety (SMS). This reflects the need to integrate the various sub-systems used for the management of the different activities of an aerodrome organization (e.g. management of aeronautical data and related activities).

The relevant provisions on the management system of aerodrome operators may be found in the management requirements contained in Subpart D of Annex III of Regulation (EU) No 139/ 2014 (Part ADR.OR), as well as in the related acceptable means of compliance and guidance material. They reflect the Annex 19 requirements and will be updated with updates of Annex 19.

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ADR.11 Is it planned to have a regulation for the design of heliports?

Yes, there is a rulemaking task covering heliports, namely RMT.0638 Certification requirements for VFR heliports located at aerodromes falling under the scope of Basic Regulation. It is currently executed as part of the EASA Rulemaking Program under which the following NPA has been published NPA 2017-14 “Certification specifications and guidance material for the design of surface-level VFR heliports located at aerodromes that fall under the scope of Regulation (EC) 216/2008 (CS-HPT-DSN - Issue 1)”.  Until these rules are in place, the respective national regulations are applicable. The future rules for heliports will reflect the recent changes to Annex 14, Vol. II. 

For more information on this task visit this link

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ADR.12 The Basic Regulation under its Art. 8a 2(c) foresees the certification of safety-critical aerodrome equipment: Where can the implementing rules for this be found?

The question if there should be implementing measures for the certification of safety-critical Aerodrome Equipment is subject to continuing discussions, but nothing concrete is planned in the near future.

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ADR.13 What are alternative means of compliance (AltMOC)?

For all questions regarding alternative means of compliance please consult the following FAQ pages: link

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ADR.14 Is there a transition period by which an aerodrome operator has to comply with new or changed certification specifications for aerodrome design?

In accordance with ADR.OR.B.050, the aerodrome operator, following an amendment of the certification specifications, must perform a review to identify any certification specifications, which are applicable to the aerodrome; and, if relevant, initiate a change process in accordance with ADR.OR.B.040 and implement the necessary changes at the aerodrome.

The competent authority, for its part, shall process the application for changes in accordance with the steps prescribed in ADR.AR.C.040. During this process, a timeline to reach compliance with the new CS shall be prescribed by the competent authority, depending, amongst other factors, on the nature and the significance of the required change.

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ADR.15 What is the underlying definition of “passenger” in the context of the derogation (exemption) mentioned under Art. 4 (3b) of the EASA Basic Regulation 216/2008 as amended by Regulation (EU) 1108/2009?

According to Article 4.3 (b) of the EASA Basic Regulation, a Member State may decide to issue an exemption from the provisions of Regulation (EU) 139/2014 when the aerodrome in question handles no more than 10,000 passengers per year and no more than 850 movements related to cargo operations per year. Further details are also found in Art. 5 of Regulation (EU) 139/2014. 

The term “passenger” is not defined in Regulation (EC) No 216/2008. Looking into other parts of that Regulation and Regulation (EC) No 965/ 2012, there is a differentiation between passengers and crew members. From this it follows, that passengers are all persons on board an aircraft, who are not crew members. This means that for the purpose of calculating whether a given aerodrome can be exempted, all passengers of a given year have to be counted, regardless of whether the operation was commercial or non-commercial. 

This corresponds with the practice at Eurostat in its 2015 “Reference Manual on Air Transport Statistics”, where the following definition is given: “Air Passenger” any person, excluding on-duty members of the flight and cabin crews, who makes a journey by air. Infants in arms are included.”

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ADR.16 The EASA Basic Regulation talks in its Art. 4 (3a) about aerodromes “open to public use”. Can you provide a definition about the meaning of this?

The term “public use” is included in Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 as one of the elements for defining which aerodromes shall comply with this Regulation and consequently will need to be certified in accordance with the requirements and administrative procedures laid down in Commission Regulation (EU) No 139/2014. 

In the context of aviation rules, an aerodrome open to public use means that it is generally accessible to use by the public, as opposed to being accessible only to one particular person or a closed group of people. It is up to each Member State to decide on the facilities open to public use, in accordance with their national regulatory framework.

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