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Air safety: European Aviation Safety Agency

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The Commission proposes to establish a uniformly high level of civil aviation safety in Europe as part of creating the single European sky. It has set out the responsibilities of the European Aviation Safety Agency in this respect, underlining the need to achieve harmony between air safety standards.

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 1592/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2002 on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Aviation Safety Agency [Official Journal L 240 of 07.09.2002] [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

Background

To respond to growing passenger concerns, it is necessary to develop aircraft designs that improve the level of passenger safety and health.

The Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944), to which all Member States are parties, already provides for minimum standards to ensure the safety of civil aviation and environmental protection.

The Regulation applies to all fields of civil aviation. Aircraft used for military, customs and police services and persons and organisations involved in such activities are excluded.

Substantive requirements

The aim of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is to harmonise technical rules and, in particular, ensure their uniform application. It is not unusual that a manufacturer still has to produce different versions of the same type of aircraft or equipment depending on the country where it is to be used.

At the same time, this uniformity is to facilitate the activities of the aeronautical industry in Europe by making access to the entire European market possible on the basis of a single certificate.

Under exceptional circumstances, and subject to appropriate Community control, Member States are entitled to adopt measures:

  • in response to a safety problem involving a product, person or organisation;
  • in the event of unforeseen urgent operational circumstances or operational needs of a limited duration;
  • where an equivalent safety level can be achieved by other means.

The information collected in the field covered by the Regulation will be kept confidential, as provided for by Directive 95/46/EC concerning the protection of personal data. Nevertheless, this information will be available to each national civil aviation authority and to the entities investigating civil aviation accidents and incidents. A safety review will be published annually by the Agency to keep the public informed of the general safety level.

The European Aviation Safety Agency

The Agency's tasks will be:

  • to help the Community legislature draw up common standards to ensure the highest possible levels of safety and environmental protection;
  • to ensure that they are applied uniformly in Europe and that any necessary safeguard measures are implemented;
  • to promote the spread of standards worldwide.

The Agency may adopt various types of act. It may:

  • take binding individual decisions by granting type certificates and by conducting inspections and investigations;
  • issue non-binding documents containing acceptable means of compliance (e.g. airworthiness codes) and guidance material (for use in the certification process) and present opinions to the Commission on the essential requirements and implementing rules to be adopted.

Internal structure

The Agency is an independent body of the Community with its own legal personality. The Agency may, with the consent of the Member State concerned, establish local offices in any Member State. It is represented by its Executive Director.

The Agency's staff consists of a limited number of officials assigned or seconded by the Commission or Member States to carry out management duties plus other employees recruited by the Agency for a strictly limited period, according to its requirements.

All opinions addressed to the Commission on the future acts to be adopted must be available in all the official languages of the Community. Applications to the Agency for certification may be filed in any of the official languages of the Community and the Agency will reply in the same language.

The Management Board exercises a supervisory function in the form of appointing the Executive Director, adopting the annual report and work programme (after approval by the Commission) and taking budgetary decisions. It adopts the working procedures to be followed by the Agency, including guidelines, which must be approved by the Commission, for the allocation of certification tasks to qualified entities.

The Management Board is composed of one representative of each Member State and one representative of the Commission. The Management Board elects a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson from among its members. The term of office is three years and is renewable.

The Executive Director alone is empowered to adopt acts concerning safety and environmental protection; he or she decides on inspections and investigations and is the manager of the Agency and, as such, is responsible for preparing and implementing the budget and work programme and for all questions relating to personnel.

Boards of Appeal are set up to review individual decisions taken by the Agency. There is a clear separation of functions between the Boards of Appeal and the Agency. The members of the Boards of Appeal must be independent.

Appeals may be lodged against:

  • decisions granting type certificates;
  • decisions taken in the context of an investigation;
  • decisions relating to fees.

Appeals have a suspensive effect only when so decided by the Agency. Appeals may be made against final decisions only.

Any person may appeal against a decision addressed to, or of direct and individual concern to, that person.

The Board of Appeal may conclude its examination either by taking a decision or by referring the case to the competent body of the Agency, in which case the Agency is bound by the reasoning of the Board. Provision is made for review of the decisions of the Board of Appeal by the Court of Justice of the European Communities under the same terms as the review of Community acts provided for by Article 230 of the EC Treaty.

Member States may appeal against decisions taken by the Agency on type certification and on inspections.

Working methods

The Management Board must develop transparent procedures for the adoption of opinions, acceptable means of compliance and guidance material. These procedures must ensure the use of the relevant expertise, wide consultation of all interested parties and the right of each Member State to be associated with the adoption process. Special procedures must be developed to allow the Agency to take immediate action in case of safety problems. Similar transparent procedures apply in the case of individual decisions.

The Agency and the qualified entities acting on its behalf may undertake the inspections and investigations necessary in order to perform the tasks assigned to them.

The Agency conducts inspections in the Member States to verify that the Regulation and the implementing rules are applied correctly at national level.

The Agency is authorised to conduct the investigations required in order to issue the relevant certificates and ensure continued safety oversight.

Financial requirements

The Agency's budget is financed by a contribution from the Community, fees (paid for certificates issued by the Agency) and charges for publications and training provided by the Agency.

Financial control is ensured by the Financial Controller of the Commission. The Court of Auditors of the European Communities examines the Agency's accounts and publishes an annual report on the Agency's activities. The discharge of the Agency budget is given to the Executive Director by the European Parliament, on the recommendation of the Council.

A financial regulation specifying the procedure to be followed in preparing and implementing the budget will be adopted by the Management Board, after obtaining the agreement of the Commission and the opinion of the Court of Auditors.

The Agency will not be fully operational until 12 months after the entry into force of the Regulation.

In 2004 the Agency set up its permanent head quarters in Cologne, Germany.

This regulation has now been repealed by Regulation (EC) No 216/2008.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1592/2002

27.09.2002

27.09.2002

OJ L 240 of 15.07.2002

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1643/2003

30.09.2003

-

OJ L 245 of 22.07.2003

Regulation (EC) No 334/2007

29.03.2007

-

OJ L 88 of 29.03.2007

RELATED ACTS

Communication of 15 November 2005 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Extending the tasks of the European Aviation Safety Agency - An Agenda for 2010 [COM(2005) 578 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission communication of 15 November 2005 envisages extending the tasks of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Following a series of air accidents in the summer of 2005, the Commission is proposing to extend the common rules, and hence the tasks of the Agency, in order to ensure harmonised application of the air safety rules in Europe and make the rules on European aviation generally more effective. The EASA will prepare, implement and monitor the application of these common rules. The Commission considers that by 2010 the Agency is set to become the European authority with extended powers covering all aspects of civil aviation safety.

Regulation (EC) No 2320/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2002 establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation security [Official Journal L 355 of 30.12.2002].

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1701/2003 of 24 September 2003 adapting Article 6 of Regulation (EC) No 1592/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Aviation Safety Agency [Official Journal L 243 of 27.09.2003].

Commission Regulation (EC) No 104/2004 of 22 January 2004 laying down rules on the organisation and composition of the Board of Appeal of the European Aviation Safety Agency [Official Journal L 16 of 23.01.2004].

Council Decision of 29 April 2004 on the conclusion by the European Community of the Protocol on the accession of the European Community to the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation [Official Journal L 304 of 30.09.2004].

Last updated: 28.08.2007
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