The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will start assuming its responsibilities in September, though it may well take at least until 2008 for it to complete the process of replacing the existing Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA).
General aviation in the United Kingdom
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.
Of 19 fatal accidents involving Part 135 jet operators from 1999 to the end of last year, 13 befell flights flown under FAR Part 91–that is, without paying passengers on board. That’s more than 68 percent. There have been only six fatal jet accidents involving paying passengers in the past six years–including air ambulance operators (but not including EMS helicopters).
Still unable to comprehend the monstrous scale of the September 11 terrorist assault on the U.S., the international air transport industry got a swift taste of the disruption and chronic uncertainty that undoubtedly lie ahead. Business aviation–which some are now saying will become increasingly important as companies look for a safe and convenient alternative to airline travel–faced serious restrictions in the week following the attack.
The new European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) came almost silently to life last month–as if echoing the muted expectations that many in the aviation industry have of the organization. To optimists, the new body is Europe’s answer to the FAA, promising a new regime of clear, consistent and harmonized regulations and standards.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association is urging the European Union to unify rules for general aviation operations rather than leave regulation to individual member states of the EU.
The number of accidents in all segments of civil aviation last year was less than in 2005, according to the NTSB, with general aviation recording the lowest number of accidents in the 40 years of record keeping. Major airlines continued to have the lowest accident rates in civil aviation. The number of air-taxi accidents has been steadily decreasing over the past 10 years, while the hours flown by these air carriers has increased steadily.
After several lean years for the industry, demand for business aviation is increasing. Last month’s issue of AIN covered the encouraging Honeywell and Rolls-Royce forecasts, which predicted that by the end of this decade deliveries of new business jets will top the number of deliveries in the hot market of the late 1990s. The mood at this year’s NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention was palpably upbeat.
The UK Department for Transport is expected to decide early next year whether it will proceed with plans to restrict the amount of time foreign-registered aircraft can be based in Britain. A comment period on the proposal closed October 28. The proposal would limit the amount of time foreign-registered aircraft can be effectively based in the UK to 90 days in any 12-month period.
The chairman of the Aviation Safety Foundation Australia, a private-sector organization, expressed “grave concern” over the sustainability of general aviation in the country. Addressing a recent aviation conference in Australia, John Sharp said the federal government is not doing enough to foster the growth of GA. “Wherever you look, general aviation is in decline,” he asserted.