EASA drafts proposal for expanded role

 - December 7, 2007, 8:32 AM

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has introduced a proposal to extend the scope of its regulatory activities to include “air operation, aircrew licensing and operations of third-party aircraft.” The change requires amending Regulation (EC) No. 1592/2002 of the European Parliament and of the council establishing EASA, so in December the EASA proposed such an amendment. European institutions are expected to adopt the proposal this year.

When the proposal is approved, the EASA will take over additional responsibilities from the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) in the area of operations.

Last April 27 the consultation document on the essential requirements for pilot proficiency, air operations and commercial operations in the EU by third-party operators was published. By the end of the comment period, 1,695 comments had been received from 93 parties, many of which revealed that there was some confusion between the Essential Requirements for Air Operations (ER), which serve as a basis for the safety regulation for all types of aviation activities, and the Implementation Rules (IR), which cover the means of implementation. The IR will be based on JAR-OPS 1 and 3 for Commercial Air Transport, and on JAR-OPS 0 and 4 for other commercial activities such as aerial work.

For non-commercial activities the EASA proposes that the means of implementation be appropriate to the complexity of the aircraft rather than the type of activity or the nature of ownership.

For corporate aviation, the EASA suggests basing the IR on JAR-OPS 0 and 2 for “complex-motor-powered aircraft.” The EASA would impose less strict implementation rules for general aviation, except for the complex motor-powered aircraft, for which it would adopt IR based on JAR-OPS 0 and 2.

According to the EASA’s definition, a “complex-motor-powered aircraft” is an aircraft that has an mtow of more than 12,500 pounds; a maximum approved passenger seating configuration of more than nine; is certified for operation with a minimum crew of two pilots; or is jet powered. It can also be a helicopter with an mtow of more than 7,000 pounds; with a maximum approved passenger seating configuration of more than five; certified for operation with a minimum crew of two pilots; or a tiltrotor.

Drafting New Regulations
During the past two years, European Business Aviation Association and NBAA experts have been working with the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) to develop European rules for corporate aircraft operations.

The recommendations from the business aviation lobby were generally accepted. Although the new wording is not exactly what the business aviation groups recommended, it corrects the problems with the ER. More important, the proposals regarding the “declaration” of a corporate operation versus a mandated “certification” have been retained and will be part of the new EC regulation.

“We feel EASA has done  good work with the proposal to amend the basic regulation. The decision to use JAR-OPS 0 and 2 as the basis for establishing Implementation Rules is in accordance with the IBAC proposals. Work is still required to finish JAR-OPS 0 and 2, but the required changes should not be difficult,” Don Spruston, director general of IBAC, told AIN.