Brussels, 19 December 2012
Aviation: Commission proposes new rules to prevent aircraft accidents
The European Commission proposed today new rules for the better protection of air passengers, aiming to achieve a decreased number of aircraft accidents and fatalities through better use of data on occurrences. An occurrence is any type of event significant in the context of aviation safety which might or might not have resulted in an actual accident but which merits being collected and analysed. In addition, the new rules would promote more efficient exchange of information between Member States. This legislative proposal is the core element of the future European aviation safety system which aims to shift Europe towards a proactive and evidence-based safety system, i.e. a system that attempts to foresee and prevent accidents based on the collection and analysis of data, rather than simply reacting after accidents.
European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "With more than 800 million passengers flying in Europe every year and with traffic expected to almost double in the next two decades, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent accidents, with the terrible pain and suffering that results from them. These new rules will contribute to achieving this goal. The European Union is and must remain a leading region for aviation safety in the world".
Achieving the goal of preventing aircraft accidents in a proactive and risk-based safety system requires some knowhow and the means to use it. Firstly, it means getting a complete picture of the risks involved and a good understanding of the threats to aviation safety. Secondly, it means establishing mechanisms to correct deficiencies and address potential dangers. However, currently these two elements are not sufficiently tackled by the EU Member States. In addition, access to information is limited as the data collected is not sufficiently shared among the Member States.
To make up for the shortcomings of the current system, the Commission proposes in the new regulation to:
Ensure full awareness of actual and potential risks in aviation safety by improving the collection of safety occurrences. The new rules aim to establish a system where people feel confident in reporting information;
Ensure that the information collected is analysed and that actions necessary for maintaining or enhancing the level of aviation safety are taken and their effectiveness monitored;
Ensure that the information collected is appropriately shared among Member States and that it is used only for the purpose of improving safety.
What happens next?
The proposal will be discussed and amended by the European Parliament and the Council (Member States). Once they agree on a text, it will become European legislation and be directly applicable in all Member States as national law.
For more information: MEMO/12/1008
For more information on aviation safety: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/safety/index_en.htm
Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)
Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)