The Agency

This Generic FAQ page compiles Frequently Asked Questions related to all aspects of the Agency.

About EASA

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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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EASA as competent Authority

What are the areas of responsibility for the Agency?

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is governed by Regulation (EC) 216/2008  which sets out the tasks and responsibilities of the Agency.

EASA cannot provide legally binding interpretations of EU Regulations. These functions are reserved to national and EU courts and to the European Commission.  Under the EU Treaties, Member States are responsible for interpreting and implementing EU law in their national legal system.
 
For that reason, any queries concerning the implementation of aviation safety regulations within EASA’s remit should be handled by the competent authorities designated by Member States.

For organisations, the Agency is the Competent Authority in accordance with ORA.GEN.105:

ORA.GEN.105 Competent authority

(a) For the purpose of this Part, the competent authority exercising oversight over:

(1) organisations subject to a certification obligation shall be:

(i) for organisations having their principal place of business in a Member State, the authority designated by that Member State;
(ii) for organisations having their principal place of business located in a third country, the Agency;

(2) FSTDs shall be:

(i) the Agency, for FSTDs:
- located outside the territory of the Member States, or,
- located within the territory of the Member States and operated by organisations having their principal place of business located in a third country,
(ii) for FSTDs located within the territory of the Member States and operated by organisations having their principal place of business in a Member State, the authority designated by the Member State where the organisation operating it has its principle place of business, or the Agency, if so requested by the Member State concerned.

(b) When the FSTD located outside the territory of the Member States is operated by an organisation certified by a Member State, the Agency shall qualify this FSTD in coordination with the Member State that has certified the organisation that operates such FSTD.

It should be noted that the Agency has no powers to issue any personal licences or certificates in regard of the “Aircrew Regulation”

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Does EASA deal with airports?

The EASA’s remit has been expanded to the rulemaking and standardisation of aerodrome safety and ATM. This change is based on the amending Regulation (EC) No 1108/2009 to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008. For details on the work in this area please look at the pages for ATM and Aerodromes and the relevant FAQ section.

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Which types of operations or activities are excluded from EASA's competence?

Article 1(2) of Basic Regulation , as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1108/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009, excludes from the Agency’s scope aircraft involved in the execution of military, customs, police, search and rescue, fire fighting, coastguard or similar activities or services.

The common element between these operations are that they serve a public interest and/or exercise a public service or duty of care, which assumes that the service is provided by or under the control and responsibility of a government or public authority of the Member States pursuing the fulfilment of public interest.

Some activities such as mountain rescue are not particularly mentioned in Article 1(2) of the Basic Regulation. Nevertheless, applying the criterion described above, it is assumed that mountain rescue is outside the scope of EASA.

The determining factor to exclude a given aircraft from the scope of the Basic Regulation is the concrete nature of the operation performed – not the aircraft itself, its registry, its owner or its operator. In this sense, the distinction between ‘State aircraft’ / ‘State Operations’ and civil aircraft / operations, which was traditionally based on the registry of the aircraft (civil or military/State) or the nature of the owner / operator (private or public entity), is no longer relevant for the purpose of excluding an aircraft from the scope of the Basic Regulation. 

The responsibility for determining whether a certain operation falls within the scope of the Basic Regulation, by applying the criteria of Article 1(2), belongs to the Member States, as part of their general duty to implement EU Law. The Agency will monitor the exercise of this responsibility by the Member States as part of its standardisation responsibilities under the Basic Regulation.

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Doing business with EASA

My company wishes to sell its products and services to EASA. What should I do?

Being a European Community agency, the Agency works with strict financial procedures with regard to procurement of services and products. Please check the Procurement page, where Calls for Tender are published.

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