EASA & FAA Agreements with Singapore
Maintains Safety, Stimulates Jobs & Reduces Surveillance
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and European Aviation Safety Agency have signed a working arrangement that will reduce regulatory compliance cost and facilitate more business opportunities for companies in Singapore and Europe. While this reciprocal agreement between the aviation authority of the Asian island and the aviation authority of Europe should enhance aviation safety as well as facilitate aviation trade between the two, the CAAS selection of EASA as a facilitated commercial AVIATION PARTNER may not be well received in Washington.
A review of some of the details of the deal will help magnify its commercial benefits to the signatories:
- The reciprocal arrangement validates and accepts each other’s design certifications and approvals of aircraft parts, aircraft modifications and repairs of their respective based OEMs. This reduction in paperwork should expedite the sale of aeronautical products between the partners.
- The Design Organization Approval (DOA) holders will no longer need to hold duplicate CAAS and EASA Approvals to operate in both Singapore and Europe. The number of regulatory inspections will be reduced, resulting in time and cost savings for the aviation industry on both sides. The partners said air operators and other industry stakeholders from both Europe and Singapore will benefit from this arrangement.
- The two authorities will share their work practices and exchange of safety oversight information. This will improve safety, deepen cooperation and pave the way for future collaboration. Closer regulatory relations will benefit commercial opportunities.
Comments at the signing event underlined the dual regulatory and commercial goals:
- CAAS’s Shum, said: “We are pleased to be able to conclude this agreement with our good friends and partners in EASA. This agreement will benefit companies in Europe and Singapore, and strengthen aviation safety.”
- EASA’s Ky added: “We value our long-standing cooperation with CAAS. This agreement and this year’s opening of the EASA regional office in Singapore demonstrates how important a partner Singapore is for EASA and for the European aviation industry as a whole.”
- “With more than 50 per cent of our fleet being Airbus aircraft, this Working Arrangement between the CAAS and EASA will definitely be beneficial to Singapore Airlines in shortening the lead time and reducing the costs of aircraft and cabin modifications”, said Lau Hwa Peng, senior vice president engineering of Singapore Airlines.
- Dr Yip Yuen Cheong, executive vice president of aerospace engineering & manufacturing, ST Aerospace, said: “As ST Aerospace grows its engineering, design and manufacturing business such as aircraft interiors and seats, reciprocal arrangements on certification between CAAS and EASA will help to shorten the time taken to commercialise new solutions or products, which is important when competing in a fast-paced, global aviation market.”
- Dr Bicky Bhangu, regional director, south east Asia & Pacific, Rolls-Royce, said, “Singapore is a major hub for Rolls-Royce; we have significant manufacturing, build as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activities. So we appreciate and welcome this working arrangement between CAAS and EASA. We are positive that this arrangement will help reduce cost and time, and therefore help attract new opportunities for the aviation industry in Singapore.”
Why the dismay with the FAA?
Last January, Administrator Huerta traveled 9,664 miles to sign a “milestone” Maintenance Implementation Procedures agreement with Director-General of CAAS, Kevin Shum. This document reflects progress in the FAA’s Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement process which began in 2004 with the inking of an Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness (IPA) agreement, and reinforced by a 2007 upgrade.
The most recent iteration will deliver benefits to both countries’ industries. The execution of this agreement “will significantly reduce regulatory burdens and compliance costs for the aviation industry. It also will eliminate duplication of inspections and audits on aircraft maintenance organisations in Singapore and the U.S.” The Administrator commented:
“This landmark agreement with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore will strengthen aviation safety while reducing the cost of inspections for aircraft repairwork. The United States looks forward toward continued collaboration with ASEAN Member States.”
That similar agreement was intended to signal improved commercial opportunities between Singapore and the US. If there have been any Boeing or P&W or GE announcements about new sales, they have not been noticed.
Almost simultaneously, the FAA signed a milestone Maintenance Agreement Guidance (MAG) yesterday with CAAS. The agreement allows for mutual surveillance conducted on certified repair stations located abroad for each of the agreement partners. This agreement relieves the governments from sending inspectors to the other country to inspect repair stations there; CAAS and the FAA will rely on the surveillance of the other agency in its reviews of the respective Foreign Repair Stations. Thus, for example, the 58 FAA Part 145 facilities in Singapore will inspected by CAAS personnel.
This labor sharing device is added to the list of FAA-CAAS agreements:
|Agreements||Allows for the Import to the U.S. of:|
· Bilateral Airworthiness Agreement (Replaced)
|Technical Standard Order appliances. Also recognizes certain interior modification on STCs.|
Singapore is covered by Mary Jo Marzinzik in Washington, Mark Reeves (as Director of the International Area Office in the US Embassy in Singapore), Jim Spillane, Senior Representative (with coverage of 10 CAAs) and the Los Angeles International Field Office (staff = 40+ and responsible for 36 countries in the Asia/Pacific Region). The personnel costs, particularly for the overseas billets, are high and the transportation budget, especially for the Los Angeles staff, is expensive. The surveillance function commands much of the costs needed to surveil the foreign jurisdictions.
The FAA’s priorities tend to spend the first dollar on domestic operations; somewhere in middle of the list can be found the international regulatory functions; towards the bottom of the allocation table are the dollars to be expended on the “fostering international relation” people and travel. The FAA’s total expenditures are under heavy constraints and the squeeze has impacted these foreign programs (several IFOs were closed).
To add to the constrictions, Congress is line iteming increases in dollars for Office of Commercial Space Transportation and for general aviation regulatory initiatives ($7 million for general aviation alternative fuels, $1.076 million over the Administration’s request). While these may be incredibly important programs, the setting aside of funds tends to limit the Administrator’s discretion to move dollars to programs which are not “blessed” with such legislative specificity, which may not have immediate visibility, but which are strategic in their impact.
The agreement between EASA and CAAS may not be extraordinarily more significant in an aeropolitical sense than the MAG signed by the FAA and Singapore. Relieving the Los Angeles based IFO inspectors from traveling to Singapore will provide an increase in funds available for other international projects. The contemporaneous endorsements by Airbus, Rolls Royce, Singapore Airlines and ST Aerospace on the signing of the CAAS-EASA working agreements signals that those companies perceive immediate benefits to their home countries’ economies.
Job is an anthem which American voters greatly appreciate. The “employment” refrain did not accompany the FAA execution of its agreement.
Yes, the Administrator has husbanded his IFO expenditures by transferring surveillance to the CAAS and yes, he may be able to move those freed dollars to other international needs.
But the MAG does not appear to add to US employment and the FAA international strategy should be sensitive to regulatory results which help American manufacturers while not degrading aviation safety one iota. The European aviation bridge with Singapore appears to have nicely met both goals—safety and jobs.