Aircraft operators have until May 30 to comment on the new air operations requirements (Notice of Proposed Amendment 2009-2) being introduced by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). However, the legislation through which the requirements will become European Union law is not expected to receive final approval from EU transport ministers until October 2010, after it is introduced as new legislation to the European Parliament before the end of this September. This will give operators less than 18 months to be fully compliant by the April 2012 implementation deadline.
The new rules are based on existing draft rules, such as EU-OPS, JAR-OPS 1 Amendment 13 (covering commercial fixed-wing operations), JAR-OPS 3 (covering commercial helicopter regulations) and JAR-OPS 2 and 4 (covering private aircraft operations). Most of these had been under development by EASA’s predecessor, the Joint Aviation Authorities. Fundamentally, they are based on the structure of ICAO’s Annex 6 rules.
At the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) conference at St. Albans on March 3, Jean-Marc Cluzeau, EASA’s head of flight standards, acknowledged criticism that the new rules are too complex because they are spread across three sets of requirements. To remedy this, EASA produced a handbook that brings the operational requirements together. Operators can also access (at www.easa.europa.eu) e-tools that are designed to help operators in day-to-day application of the new regulations by making it easier for them to understand which sets of requirements apply for any given flying activity.
Meanwhile, Cluzeau said that EASA has received more than 11,000 comments on the NPA covering new rules for flight crew licensing (FCL), for which the agency is also assuming responsibility. EASA officials informed the European Commission (EC) that they will need an additional month (on top of the standard three-month period) to review the comments. The agency is expected to make its proposed legislative changes to the European Parliament this October, so the final rule on FCL probably will not be adopted before the summer of 2010.