Almost four years after the European Commission proposed the legislative update of the EASA Basic Regulation and endless meetings between the European Parliament and EU member states to find a compromise, the new safety rules governing the bloc’s aviation industry went into effect on September 11. The revamped regulation formalizes EASA’s role in the domain of drones and gives the Cologne-based agency a coordinating role in cybersecurity in aviation; however, it fails to recognize the business aviation sector’s various operational models, according to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA).
EBAA is particularly concerned about the new Basic Regulation’s definition of Commercial Air Transport (CAT), which the Brussels trade group describes as “minimalistic” and could “to a certain extent, encourage non-compliant operations, which in 2012 had an estimated negative impact of €1.2 billion on the sector.”
The revised regulation defines CAT operations an “an aircraft operation to transport passengers, cargo, or mail for remuneration or other valuable consideration.” This is a mild variation of the ICAO CAT definition for business aviation, but still does not reflect the business aviation particularities, EBAA said, noting the new framework does not include non-commercial operations. “This is an area which requires dedicated attention to enable private and corporate operators to operate under rules specifically aimed at them, as opposed to flying under Commercial Air Transport rules,” it said in a statement to AIN.
EBAA has created a dedicated working group that will meet with EASA to define a set of implementing rules (IRs) covering all business aviation’s business models. The ultimate goal is a definition that clearly distinguishes between income generated by paying financial obligations towards service providers (e.g. aircraft owner paying a management company) and profit generated by commercial operations, it said.
The EBAA working group will also further address other issues in the EASA Basic Regulation, such as the fractional ownership architecture and making sure that the European Roadmap for Ground Handling takes into consideration the work already done by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and the IATA.
In terms of fractional ownership, EBAA advocates for clearly defined limits to differentiate between commercial and private operations. The IRs addressing this issue should cover not only the case of individuals owning a percentage of an aircraft but also corporate departments sharing one or more aircraft, it said.