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 individual aircraft, organisation or aircrew member is certified by an aviation authority in one of the EU Member States, it is considered as also certified in the remaining Member States?

Yes, in accordance with. Article 67(1) of Regulation 2018/1139 (The New Basic Regulation, NBR) “Certificates issued by the Agency or the national competent authorities, and declarations made by natural and legal persons in accordance with this Regulation and with the delegated and implementing acts adopted on the basis thereof shall be subject exclusively to the rules, conditions and procedures laid down in this Regulation and national administrative requirements and shall be valid and recognised in all Member States, without further requirements or evaluation”.

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What is the Agency?

EASA is an Agency of the European Union. As an EU 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 established by Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2018 on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and amending Regulations (EC) No 2111/2005, (EC) No 1008/2008, (EU) No 996/2010, (EU) No 376/2014 and Directives 2014/30/EU and 2014/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 552/2004 and (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (EEC) No 3922/91 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 main tasks and responsibilities of the Agency as laid down in Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 are as follows:

  • Assist the European Commission in the preparation of the common safety rules, and in the negotiation of the international aviation safety agreements;
  • Issue certification specifications, acceptable means of compliance and guidance material;
  • Certify aircraft, engines, propellers, parts and non-installed equipment;
  • Approve certain organizations involved in aviation activities both in the EU and abroad; 
  • Authorize third country airlines to fly into the EU
  • Assist the European Commission in monitoring correct application of common aviation safety requirements by EU Member States 
  • Cooperate with foreign civil aviation authorities, and regional and international organisations alike, in order to enhance aviation safety in Europe and worldwide.
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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 aircraft or activities are excluded from EASA's competence?

Pursuant to Article 2(3) of Regulation 2018/1139 (The Basic Regulation), that regulation shall NOT apply to: 

a) aircraft, and their engines, propellers, parts, non-installed equipment and equipment to control aircraft remotely, while carrying out military, customs, police, search and rescue, firefighting, border control, coastguard or similar activities or services under the control and responsibility of a Member State, undertaken in the public interest by or on behalf of a body vested with the powers of a public authority, and the personnel and organisations involved in the activities and services performed by those aircraft; 

b) aerodromes or parts thereof, as well as equipment, personnel and organisations, that are controlled and operated by the military; 

c) ATM/ANS, including systems and constituents, personnel and organisations, that are provided or made available by the military; 

d) the design, production, maintenance and operation of aircraft the operation of which involves low risk for aviation safety, as listed in Annex I, and to the personnel and organisations involved therein, unless the aircraft has been issued, or has been deemed to have been issued, with a certificate in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 216/2008.

In addition Member States may decide, on a voluntary basis, to:

a) exempt from the provisions of the Basic Regulation the design, maintenance and operation of an aerodrome, and the safety-related equipment used at that aerodrome, where that aerodrome handles no more than 10 000 commercial air transport passengers per year and no more than 850 movements related to cargo operations per year, and provided that Member States concerned ensure that such exemption does not endanger compliance with the essential requirements for aerodromes (Article 2(7) of the Basic Regulation);

b) exempt from the provisions of the Basic Regulation design, production, maintenance and operation activities in respect of certain categories of light aeroplanes, helicopters and sailplanes, which have not been previously certified by EASA (Article 2(8) of the Basic Regulation).

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What are EASA’s obligations with regard to the confidentiality of data it receives?

As an official public body of the EU, EASA works within a strict legal framework which provides the highest confidentiality standards with regard to the use and dissemination of the information submitted in the framework of its institutional tasks. As such, EASA can and will only use the data within its mandate, as defined by Regulation (EU) 2018/1139, which sets out its tasks and responsibilities in relation to aviation safety within the EU.

In addition, as a body of the EU, several legal obligations on confidentiality and discretion are specifically imposed on EASA, as well as on its staff members, as prescribed by Article 17 of the EU Staff Regulations. These obligations apply to staff during their employment with EASA and also after their employment has come to an end. This means that unauthorised disclosure of information received in the line of duty is prohibited on a perpetual basis. 

Without prejudice to the application of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 on public access to documents, Article 4 of this regulation provides for specific cases in which the Agency shall refuse disclosure of documents. In particular, EASA has to refuse access to documents whenever such disclosure would undermine the commercial interest of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property. This means that EASA has a specific obligation, imposed by law, to protect certain interests when handling requests for disclosure of documents.

In light of the above, all information shared with EASA provided within the scope of the cooperation will be afforded the appropriate level of data confidentiality.

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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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