The European Parliament has confirmed a 20-percent increase in the annual budget for the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The Cologne, Germany-based organization will have a budget of about $57 million this year–up from about $48 million last year. However, Europe’s Aerospace and Defence Industries Association (ASD) warns that the EASA will not be able to handle its growing portfolio of responsibilities unless the agency receives significantly higher levels of funding.
In November, the European Commission disclosed that the EASA’s role is to be extended to cover aircraft operations, pilot licensing and oversight of third-country airlines. It indicated that this expansion should be complete by 2010. According to the ASD, the EASA’s annual budget is set to increase by only a further 4 percent by 2010, despite the major increase in its workload that is envisioned. The EASA has said it is pursuing methods to improve the ways in which its services are paid for and delivered.