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The history of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)15. july 2010 23:23 | Regulations
by Tom Jules
The EASA is the successor of Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) which took care of previous aviation safety issues in Europe before the decision was made to form the EASA. The major difference between the EASA and the JAA is that JAA did not have the legislation authority that the EASA has.
The Objective of the EASA
The purpose of EASA is to standardize aviation safety within the European Union member states. The three major objectives of EASA are:
To provide technical to the European Commission in preparation on legislation in aviation safety.
To carries out task such as certification of aeronautical products and other product relating to aviation.
To assist the Commission in developing and uphold the rules of the European Union in aviation safety.
There are still few tasks that the EASA has still to take over. Those tasks include Rules and procedures for civil aviation operations; Licensing of crews; and Certification of non-Member State airlines.
Other Aviation Safety Authorities in Europe
The Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) is EASA’s predecessor. Even though the EASA has taken over many of JAA’s tasks, it will still be operating with few tasks on their hands. JAA membership is open to countries that are members of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC).
The JAA started in 1970, but was then known as the Joint Airworthiness Authorities. The JAA was formed in the same purpose as the EASA is today, to make flying safer in Europe. In the beginning the tasks JAA handled where limited to certification for large airplanes and certification of engines. In 1987, the JAA’s tasks where extended to include operations, maintenance, licensing and certification/design standards.
All 25 EU countries are member of the JAA. Countries that are not in the EU, but are members of the ECAC are Armenia and Iceland. Countries that are not EU member, but are members of the EuroControl are Bulgaria, Croatia, Former Yugoslavia, Monaco, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, and Turkey. Candidate members are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro, and Ukraine.
National Aviation Authorities (NAA) is the national aviation authority in each particular country. The NAA has not been eliminated by the arrival of EASA, they rather work in parallel to each other. The NAA in each particular country is responsible for airworthiness certification of individual parts coming in to their registry. The NAA is as well responsible for approving production, maintenance, and maintenance organization within that country. The NAA is expected to follow the rules and regulations of EASA.
Rulemaking and Regulations
The EASA creates and implements aviation safety regulation on behave of the European Union. EASA does still not handle all aviation safety regulation in the EU. According to the EASA website, majority of aviation safety regulations within the EU will eventually be under EASA’s jurisdiction.
Currently the Basic Regulation establishes Community competence only for the regulation of the airworthiness and environmental compatibility of aeronautical products, parts and appliances. Work is underway to extend the scope of this regulation to embrace the regulation of pilot licensing, air operations and third country aircraft. It is envisaged also to extend the scope of the Basic Regulation to the safety regulation of airport operations and air traffic control services.
There are six steps in the rulemaking process which are determination and approval of the rulemaking program; initiation of the rule by defining the terms of reference; the drafting of the rule; consultation phase; comments and review period; and adoption and publication. This is a slow process that can take up to three years.
Quality and Standardization
On behave of the European Union, the EASA is making an effort to standardize Aviation and aviation safety in Europe. The EASA is concentrating in achieving quality and standardization in Production of aeronautical parts; design of aeronautical parts; issuing primary certification; maintenance organization approval; and maintenance organization approval.
The EASA has issued firmer rules that where before in Europe, concerning approval of maintenance organization and other things. For an example, prior to the EASA, FAA licensed aircraft mechanics where able to convert their FAA license to JAA license by working for thirty months as an aircraft mechanics in a country that was operating under the JAA. Many of the European people that wanted to get their aircraft mechanic license when to the United States to get it, because it only took half the time it would have taken in Europe. With the new regulations, people are not able to get their FAA license changed over to EASA license.
The EASA consider it self obligated to protect the environment for European citizens. The two main environmental issues are noise and emissions such as unburned fuel, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and carbon monoxide that comes from the engines of the airplanes.
The EASA in cooperation with the European Commission has formed a special environmental team call the Environmental Protection Unit. The Environmental Protection Unit handles all rulemaking regarding environmental issues in Europe on behave of EASA. According to the EASA website, the Environmental Protection Unit has three main tasks.
To develop and maintain the environmental essential requirements, implementing rules, certification specifications and guidance material,
to establish international cooperation with respect to environmental certification
To give technical support
EASA has adopted environmental protection standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The ICAO was formed in November 2006, by The U.S. government. 189 countries from all over the world are members of the ICAO. ICAO aims at standardizing rules in aviation safety, air navigation, environmental protection, and other aviation related matters.
The EASA Networking
The EASA has contracts on special working arrangements with number of countries, including Canada, Brazil, Israel, Japan China, and the United States. These special working arrangements may include things such as accepting the other country’s type design approval, supplemental type design approval, and the acceptance of the other country’s airworthiness and environmental certificates. These special working arrangement contracts can also include other cooperation and assistant on aviation matters between the countries.
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