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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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 (EC) No 216/2008, 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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