European Safety Regulation
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Executive Director Patrick Ky, at the recent Air & Cosmos event, announced that his organization is seeking to expand its pan European authority from the European Commission. The goal is for the central agency to regulate directly production, surveillance, cybersecurity and the data systems which feed SMS.
That addition of power in Cologne would be at the detriment of the 24 Member countries’ national CAAs. Heretofore, each of these indigenous authorities have had the responsibilities of enforcing the EASA rules for the airlines, airports and manufacturers within each state’s border. That translates to jobs, but also that is an example of a sovereign exercising its safety authorities over its aviation enterprises. The reverse devolution of such basic powers to a multi-national organization is not lightly given.
Ky makes the salient point that these aeronautical ventures are increasingly transborder. He cites specifically at
“…Rolls-Royce’s factories in the UK and Germany. The engine manufacturer has reported difficulty coping with different interpretations of an EASA regulation from the respective countries’ authorities. The EASA today has no way to reconcile them, according to Ky.”
Thus, to achieve this pan European consistency, EASA seeks greater centralized powers. If granted, for example, this will translate to Norwegian Air Shuttle receiving the same oversight, interpretation and requirements with its parent corporation in Norway and its certificate in Ireland. The same consistency would apply to an Italian OEM with facilities in several companies.
This debate sounds very much like the complaints levied by users in the independent fiefdoms called the FAA regions, ACDOs, ADOs, ACOs and the many outposts of this institution. The lack of uniform interpretations within this single nation agency has resulted in the commissioning of an ARC and a thorough proposal to create consistency. One of the collateral benefits of SMS and SAS is that now there are greater conduits within the FAA to compare position and to seek consensus.
As with the FAA, EASA faces a personnel challenge. The European Commission is requiring the EASA—as part of a more global cost-cutting policy—to trim its 800-strong workforce by 2 percent a year.
That reality means that Ky will be faced with doing more, if his “remit” is granted, with less.