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Aviation safety: civil aviation accidents and incidents


The aim of this Directive is to facilitate investigations into civil aviation accidents in order to improve air safety.


Council Directive 94/56/EC of 21 November 1994 establishing the fundamental principles governing the investigation of civil aviation accidents and incidents [Official Journal L 319 of 12.12.1994].


The purpose of this Directive is to improve air safety by facilitating the expeditious holding of investigations, the sole objective of which is the prevention of future accidents and incidents.

It applies to investigations into civil aviation accidents and incidents which have occurred in the territory of the European Community or involving aircraft registered in a Member State or operated by an undertaking established in a Member State, when such investigations are not carried out by another State.

Obligation to investigate every accident or serious incident with the aim of preventing any reoccurrence thereof.

Distinction between judicial inquiry (to establish liability) and technical investigation (the status of which is stepped up).

List of actions which investigators are authorised to carry out (free access to the site of the accident and to the aircraft, listing of evidence, immediate access to flight recorders, access to the results of examination of the bodies of victims or of tests made on samples taken from the bodies of victims, etc.).

Permanent and independent nature of the body responsible for the inquiry. This body may request the assistance of bodies or entities from other Member States.

Obligation to publish an accident (or incident) report, containing safety recommendations where appropriate.

Monitoring by Member States of the action the interested parties take in response to these recommendations.

Establishment of the principle that a safety recommendation must in no case create a presumption of blame or liability for an accident or incident.


ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 94/56/EC1.1.199521.11.1996L 319 of 12.12.1994


Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council Amending Regulation (EC) No 2320/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation security [COM(2003) 566 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Last updated: 15.05.2007
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