Europe is continuing to evolve its regulations to become more proportional, flexible and developed in partnership with an industry that already has mature safety systems in place, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) executive director Patrick Ky told business aviation executives at the kickoff of EBACE. Ky, one of the featured speakers at the EBACE Opening General Session, outlined his vision for reforms at EASA and philosophies behind new rules such as Part-NCC that will be implemented this summer.
Also speaking during the session were Channel IT Group chairman and CEO Bassim Haidar, who stressed how critical his airplane is to his business, and former French minister of foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner, who shared how aviation played a role in his founding of Doctors Without Borders and in other critical humanitarian efforts.
Ky said EASA is moving away from a legal approach to regulating to one that is focused on safety. The rulemaking branch was reshaped to team with the oversight branch for better understanding of how the rules are implemented and what their effects are, he said. The regulators were also reminded to focus more on risk than on prescriptive rulemaking. “We are not aviation lawyers,” Ky said. “Regulation is not the goal. The goal is safety.”
Underscoring the safety record of business aviation, Ky said EASA should rely more on the sector’s mature safety management systems that are already in place, and partner on best practices, rather than prescribing those practices. “This is a fundamental change,” Ky said.
He pointed to rulemakings intended to forward that philosophy, citing Part-NCC as one example. “We believe this is a very proportionate new rule,” saying it relies on operators to declare their safety systems rather than requiring certification. He also cited an opinion signed yesterday that calls for the introduction of safety management principles into the certification of aircraft, parts and repairs under Part 21. And, he pointed to efforts to make general aviation regulations more proportionate and to overhaul the basic regulation.
While Ky outlined the future of regulatory framework and collaboration with business aviation, the other speakers focused on its value. “A private jet is not a luxury...it is a tool that is a necessity,” said Haidar. He outlined how his aircraft enabled him to build a business that began in developing nations in Africa and spread into the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
But, Haidar said, “The perception of business jets needs to change.” The notion that a jet should be obtained only when a business is doing well is a mistake, he said. Business leaders need to understand “how it important it is to own a private jet” and how it can be used to enhance a business.
Haidar credited politicians with spreading a negative message about business jets. But he also believes manufacturers play a role by positioning aircraft as luxury vehicles. He further believes manufacturers can do more to foster ownership, including improving aircraft availability by reducing downtime and better controlling maintenance costs.
Kouchner, meanwhile, admitted he knows little about aviation, but knows that the availability of aircraft helped him create Doctors Without Borders, which was recognized with a Nobel Prize. He also said aircraft were essential in establishing hospitals and delivering other aid in war-torn African nations.