Article by Jeremy Shebson and Luke Foord-Kelcey
We last reported on the proposals for the EASA ("the Agency") in BLG Aviation News Issue 8 (p5). After preliminary proposals as long ago as 1996, the adoption on 15 July 2002 of a European Parliament and Council Regulation ("the Regulation") finally opened the way to establish the Agency. The Agency is due to start operating from 28 September 2003. The Agency will provisionally be based within the Commission's premises in Brussels pending a further decision of the European Council on its seat.
The new Community system of air safety and environmental regulation will be directed by this single civil aviation safety authority representing the entire region, with the legal authority to make decisions enforceable throughout the EU.
As a first step, the Regulation establishes only the basis for Community action in relation to the certification of aeronautical products and of organisations and personnel involved in their design, production or maintenance. However, the Commission, assisted by the Agency, will incrementally propose the necessary amendments of the Regulation to extend its scope to other areas of civil aviation safety; the next phase, estimated for around 2006, will give the Agency powers in relation to operator and personnel licensing.
The Agency will be given powers to perform certain executive tasks where collective action would be more effective than individual action by Member States, such as issuing type certificates for aeronautical products.
The Community seeks to associate as many European partners as possible with the system. The Regulation permits the association of all the countries linked to the Community by agreements under which they adopt and apply Community legislation in the air transport area. This includes Norway, Iceland and, soon, Switzerland, and EU accession candidates.
In the hope that decisions on safety issues are free from political interference, decision-making power will be in the hands of a neutral and independent body. The safety decisions of the...