Brussels, 15 November 2005
The European Commission adopted today a major proposal to extend the tasks of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to rulemaking and control in the field of air operations, qualifications and licences of pilots, and oversight of third country airlines operating in the European Union. “We had a tragic summer marked by a spate of air crashes that claimed more then 500 lives. European passengers need to be assured that all aircrafts abide by the highest safety standards. I want stringent safety rules to apply in all Member States and to all airlines whether based in the EU or not” said Jacques Barrot, Vice-President in charge of transport.
The Agency, created in 2002, works currently on, amongst other things, the certification of the airworthiness and environmental performance of aeronautical products. The proposal adopted today extends the agency’s tasks as follows. First, EASA will be competent over pilots’ licences to guarantee that they comply with common European rules on knowledge, skills and language proficiency. EASA will also further develop the existing requirements for EU pilots which will be adopted by the European Commission. The agency will work with national authorities, which will continue to issue licenses and conduct inspections and audits of training organisations and medical centres. Beyond the safety aspects, this will ensure better mutual recognition of pilots’ licenses between Member States.
Secondly, the legislation proposed today contains the essential requirements that aircraft must observe when operating in the EU, whether they are EU or third country planes. EASA will further develop more detailed rules that will be adopted as Commission regulations. These rules will be based on the existing intergovernmental rules of the Joint Aviation Authorities. By incorporating such rules into EU legislation they will be uniformly applied in the whole EU territory and have the force of law. National authorities will continue to issue certificates for EU carriers, whilst the Agency will be responsible for checking compliance to this regulation by the Civil aviation authorities and related organisations.
Thirdly, the Agency will take responsibility for certifying compliance of third country operators with the essential requirements for operating aircrafts in the EU. This mirrors a practice already followed by for instance the US. No EU Member State currently issues certificates for third country operators.
The Commission also announced today its plans to extend further the functions of EASA to safety and interoperability of Air Navigation Services, Air Traffic Management and airports. The objective is to have, by 2010, the whole field of aviation safety under the scope of a single organisation, the European Agency.
These new competences for EASA will complement another proposed
Regulation, scheduled for
adoption in the coming weeks, which provides the legal tools for banning any
unsafe company from operating in the EU. Such unsafe companies will appear on a
European black list made available to all passengers. The Commission hopes for a
final agreement on this at the Transport Council on 5 December.
 COM(2005)048 Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the information of air transport passengers on the identity of the operating carrier and on communication of safety information by Member States