Dickson: FAA 'Closely Monitoring' EASA Validation Activity

 - May 25, 2021, 10:16 AM
House lawmakers promised to continue monitoring U.S. and EU activities surrounding certification and validation. (Photo: Heather Trautvetter)

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson reassured lawmakers that his agency is remaining engaged with EASA to ensure that certification and validation approaches remain consistent with the U.S./EU Safety Agreement. In letters to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ranking Republican Sam Graves (Missouri) and aviation subcommittee ranking Republican Garret Graves (Louisiana), Dickson said the FAA takes “seriously” remarks made earlier in the year by EASA Director-General Patrick Ky 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.”

Ky made those remarks before the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism during a discussion on EASA’s recertification of the Boeing 737 Max. The statement prompted a letter from both Congressmen to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressing concerns 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.” They asked the Secretary to confirm that EASA’s plans do not violate the bilateral safety agreement in place between the U.S. and European regulators.

Responding on behalf of Buttigieg, Dickson told the lawmakers that the FAA “is closely monitoring how EASA is approaching ongoing validation projects.” The U.S./EU Safety Agreement includes procedures to facilitate a more efficient process to get U.S. and European products into the market while enabling regulators to focus on higher safety issues, he noted.

“It is always a CAA’s prerogative to exercise additional scrutiny as it validates the certification work of another CAA,” Dickson said. “However, there is a limit to what a CAA can reasonably insist on as part of its overall validation process of U.S. products and still conform to the principles established in a bilateral aviation safety agreement.”

Dickson credited the U.S./EU Safety Agreement with steadily reducing the duplication of work done by both organizations since its implementation in 2011. “This reduction allows both FAA and EASA to concentrate on new technology and higher risk safety issues,” he said.

The lawmakers said they appreciated the Administrator’s efforts and added they would continue to monitor the Administration’s and EASA’s actions under the bilateral agreement. “When it comes to international aviation safety agreements with the EU or any other nation, the FAA and DOT are responsible for ensuring that those agreements are upheld and that our government fully supports the FAA’s gold-standard processes and professionals,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.