House Republicans Worry EASA Changing Cert Approach

 - February 15, 2021, 12:07 PM

Republican leaders on the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee are expressing concern that the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) may be considering approaches to certification that are contrary to bilateral agreements. In a letter last week to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Reps. Sam Graves (R-Missouri) and Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) cited EASA Director-General Patrick Ky’s statements in January that EASA "will increase our level of involvement [and] our level of independent review of U.S. projects in order to build our own safety assessments.”

Those statements before the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism were made during a discussion on EASA’s recertification of the Boeing 737 Max.

But Sam Graves, who is the ranking Republican on T&I, and Garret Graves, the top Republican on the aviation subcommittee, worry that this statement is being interpreted to mean that EASA “intends to move away from the established practice of relying on the FAA for the certification of U.S. aircraft and products, and…will assert a more independent role in clearing their airworthiness.”

The lawmakers fear these changes in established certification validation practices are intended to apply to all U.S. aircraft and products, regardless of existing practices under the U.S.-EU Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA). “We are very concerned that Director-General Ky’s comments could be taken as a groundless attack on the BASA, the FAA’s safety certification regime, and U.S. aerospace manufacturers generally,” they said. “His statement appears to unilaterally undermine the core premise of the BASA, which is based upon reciprocity between comparable certification systems.”

The U.S.-EU BASA is built on a partnership between the regulatory authorities, and the recognition and acceptance of their respective work is a key tenet, they said. “However, Director-General Ky’s statement related to EASA’s change in certification validation clearly suggests a broad, across-the-board change rather than a targeted, risk-based approach," the lawmakers said, suggesting this could cause confusion.

The lawmakers asked Buttigieg to confirm that EASA’s plans do not violate the BASA.