Aerodromes (ADR)

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Aerodromes

ADR.14 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.5 To what extent will National Aviation Authorities be allowed to take into account the differing environments and location of aerodromes? And to what extent is flexibility possible?

There are altogether three important “flexibility tools” which can be applied in different situations:

The concept of the 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 European Certification Specifications when the aerodrome it 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 in lieu 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 GM ADR.AR.C.020(b))

Furthermore, the concept and instructions introduced by Art. 7 “Deviations from certification specifications” of Regulation (EC) No 139/2014 allow competent authorities until the end of 2024 to accept “legacy” deviations (i.e. deviations from the certification specifications which are pre-dating the coming into force of the rules, i.e. 6th March 2014) to continue as long as they cannot be captured with the aforementioned concepts,  are safety assessed and will undergo regular reviews to establish their continued legitimacy.  Such acceptances will be formalized in what is called a Deviations Acceptance and Action Document (DAAD). (see also question ADR6 below).

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ADR.4 What happens to deviations from the certification specifications (CS) at existing aerodromes during the establishment of the certification basis (CB)?

In case of Member States where there are existing national certificates, these have to be converted into certificates based on the European rules. Art. 6 “Conversion of Certificates” of Regulation (EC) No 139/ 2014 defines the process of this. Basically it requires the following:

Article 6  Conversion of certificates

  1. Certificates issued by the Competent Authority prior to 31 December 2014 on the basis of national legislations shall remain valid until they are issued in accordance with this Article, or if no such certificates are issued, 31 December 2017.
  2. Before the end of the period specified in paragraph 1, the Competent Authority shall issue certificates for the aerodromes and aerodrome operators concerned, if the following conditions are met:
    1. the certification basis referred to in Annex II has been established using the certification specifications issued by the Agency, including any cases of equivalent level of safety and special conditions which have been identified and documented;
    2. the certificate holder has demonstrated compliance with the certification specifications which are different from the national requirements on which the existing certificate was issued;
    3. the certificate holder has demonstrated compliance with those requirements of Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 and its Implementing Rules which are applicable to its organisation and its operation and which are different from the national requirements on which the existing certificate was issued.
  3. By way of derogation from paragraph 2 point (b), the Competent Authority may decide to waiver demonstration of compliance if it considers that this demonstration creates an excessive or disproportionate effort.

This means that the conversion process on the side of infrastructure would require the establishment of the aerodrome’s CB involving, if possible and needed, the employment of the flexibility tool discussed in the previous questions ( ELOS and Special Condition, as well as the DAAD). see also the answer to ADR. 3 above and ADR. 5 below.

During the establishment of the CB, the infrastructure at the aerodrome would be checked against the Europeans Certification Specifications (CS). In this process it can practically be assumed that the ‘same authorities will certify same airports’ along the requirements of the same technical substance so that the demonstration of compliance should be limited to the ‘factually new’ elements which had not been checked by the competent authority before because the underlying CS requirement is now either new or different from the previous national regulatory basis.

Therefore, for all resulting cases of differences the aerodrome would be expected to provide a demonstration of compliance with the European CS  (in accordance with ADR.OR.B.025 of Annex II of Regulation (EC) No 139/ 2014). However, as is said in Art. 6.3 above, that this demonstration of compliance can be waived if the Competent Authority considers that it would require an excessive and disproportionate effort. Yet, the compliance as such cannot be waived with reference to Art. 6.3 and it should be noted that the above “waiver” is only about the demonstration of compliance and should not be compromising the compliance as such. Hence, the airport in question and the competent authority should be sure that the specifications are respected.

EASA believes that the scope of necessary demonstration of compliance during the conversion process in the area of infrastructure should not be excessive.

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ADR.7 What will be the transition period for complying with the European rules and certification specifications?

In terms of transition the most important articles of Regulation (EC) No 139/ 2014 are Art. 6 “Conversion of certificates” and Art. 11 “Entry into force and application”. The following “deadlines” are set in these:

  • The conversion process of existing aerodrome certificates needs to be concluded by 31 December 2017 (see Art. 6 para. 1). At the point in time when an aerodrome obtains its new European based certificate (see Art. 11 para. 3), it needs to comply with the requirements in  Annex III and IV of Regulation (EC) No 139/ 2014 (ADR.OR and ADR.OPS rules).
  • Any aerodrome which at the point of coming into force of the new rules was in the process of being certified under national rules, was allowed to conclude this process by 31. December 2014. Now after this deadline has passed it canundergo the conversion of its certificate in accordance with Art. 6 and must have its certificate converted by 31 December 2017 (consequence of Art. 11 para. 4).
  • All aerodromes which did not hold a national aerodrome certificate before the coming into force of Regulation (EC) No 139/ 2014 (i.e. 6 March 2014) shall comply with the requirements in annex III and IV from the date of issuance of a certificate which is based the European rules.
  • After 6th March 2014 all new aerodromes or new infrastructure elements at an existing aerodromes shall be built to the certification specifications for aerodrome design and their aerodrome operators must comply with the requirements in annexes III and IV of Regulation (EC) No 139/ 2014 (this is the consequence of Art. 11).
  • The competent authorities themselves have until 31 December 2017 to comply with the authority requirements in annex II of Regulation (EC) No 139/ 2014 (see Art. 11 para. 2).
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ADR.8 Would it be possible to first concentrate on the larger airports and deal with the regional airports/aerodromes later?

Yes. the Member States and their competent authorities are free to develop an internal plan at their discretion for conversion or issuance of new European based certificates.

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ADR.9 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.10 Does the EASA certificate replace the ICAO certificate?

The future EASA-based certificate for European aerodromes shall only address the aerodrome safety part 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 rule content 1:1, apart part from few exceptions about which EASA Member States are informed through the 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.11 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?

After the beginning of 2018 EASA will only undertake standardisation visits to the Member States and their competent authorities covering the domain of aerodromes (similar to those in the area of continuing airworthiness). In the context of such a standardisation visit, some aerodromes  of the Member State in question may be visited to better understand the dealings between the authority and the aerodrome operator. However,  EASA would not raise findings against the aerodrome operator. Sole addressee of the visit remains the Member States and their authorities.

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ADR.12 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  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.

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ADR.13 Is it planned to have a regulation for the design of heliports?

Yes, RMT.0638 Heliports (Certification requirements for VFR heliports located at an aerodrome) will be executed as part of the current EASA Rulemaking Program. Until these rules are in place, the respective national regulations are applicable. The future rules for heliports will reflect the planned changes to Annex 14, Vol. II, as EASA follows these developments closely.

For more information on this task visit the page Relevant legislation for Aerodromes.

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ADR.16 When an implementing rule has no corresponding EASA AMC, does that mean that consequently any means of compliance an AltMoC?

We need to distinguish between new means of compliance proposed by competent authorities and those by organisations.

If the competent authority proposes a means of compliance for use by organisations, it is most likely an AltMoC. The reason is that the AltMoC might express expectations that need to be met by the regulated entities so as to establish rule compliance.

Conversely, if the competent authority establishes a means of compliance for itself (i.e. to Part-ARx) or an organisation proposes a means of compliance, it might be a description of an organisational process or standard operating procedure, implementing for example a prescriptive implementing rule. Process descriptions or detailed standard operating procedures reflecting the work of an individual entity are not per se AltMoC.

Nevertheless, the above can only be a general guideline. Organisations and competent authorities may need to evaluate each case to establish if a means of compliance is an AltMoC.

 

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ADR.17 What happens to current practices and authority approved means of compliance that were established before the entry into force of Regulations (EU) 1178/2011 and 965/2012 and which deviate from EASA AMC?

These means of compliances or practices might constitute an AltMoC. The transition periods to the new Regulations should be used to identify such issues. The organisation or competent authority need to assess these means of compliance and possibly submit them as AltMoC.

 

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ADR.15 What are alternative means of compliance (AltMoC)?

Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011 (in ARA.GEN.105), Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 (in its Annex I), Regulation (EU) No 139/2014 (in its Annex I), and Regulation (EU) 2015/340 (in its Article 4) define AltMoC as follows:

‘Alternative means of compliance’ mean those means that propose an alternative to an existing Acceptable Means of Compliance or those that propose new means to establish compliance with Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 and its Implementing Rules for which no associated AMC have been adopted by the Agency´.

Complementing the legal provisions, the Agency has developed further criteria that may be used to characterise an AltMoC:

  • It is technically different in character to the published EASA AMC;
  • A form included in EASA AMC is changed in layout or by adding/deleting fields;
  • A change of numbering, e.g. table of contents of the Operations Manual, is not per se an AltMoC, only if the order or numbering of whole chapters is changed (e.g. Chapter 7 becomes Chapter 8).

Editorial changes to an EASA AMC are not considered to constitute an AltMoC.

Please note that the above can only be a general guideline. Organisations and competent authorities may need to evaluate each case to establish if a means of compliance is an AltMoC.

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

After the Member States reported in 2014 in accordance with Art. 4 of Regulation 139/2014 the aerodromes in the scope of EASA the following numbers were established: 592 aerodromes are in the scope. 105 aerodromes will be given a temporary exemption due to low traffic figures. There are no heliports among the figures.

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

Nothing is planned at this stage. Recital (6) of Regulation (EC) No 1108/2009 amending Regulation (EC) No 216/2008) contemplates this as 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 metres, should remain under the regulatory control of the Member States, without any obligation under this Regulation on other Member States to recognise 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 Opinion 01/2015 issued by EASA in early 2015 on the review of the EASA Basic Regulation does not suggest any change of the applicability of the Basic Regulation to smaller aerodromes and this will not be part of any proposal coming out of the European Commission in the near future.

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

The term “Certification Basis” (CB) is a key term in the area of oversight over 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 to be proposed by the applicant (usually the aerodrome operator) and is finally decided on by the Competent Authority, the 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 the applicable and relevant CS to the aerodrome in question with an indication if the CS is being met or if an ELOS is being argued for or if a special condition is being proposed. If this is the case the documentation underneath would be normally referenced.

When the applicant has demonstrated that the aerodrome complies with the agreed CB 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 certification basis, 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 ADR.AR.C.035 (d)in Annex II of 139/2014). (see also question ADR.6)

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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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