China’s Agreement with EASA elevates its Airworthiness Stature

China's aviation expansion dream
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The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has strategic designs on the global airline manufacturing market. It is developing a number of aircraft through technical problems and over/around the intellectual property laws of nations with  more advanced technologies.

In apparent disregard of that threat, the FAA entered into a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) with the PRC in 2005. Since then the two countries have been engaged in establishing Implementation Procedures, but the PRC has yet to attain full parity.

Chinese Dragon

The new agreement between the CAAC and EASA likely has yet to find the PRC’s aircraft certification sufficient to meet global standards. However, this link provides the prospective participant some leverage in the aerospace market. If and when EASA finds a Chinese airliner to meet its standards, that “certificate” has great credibility among the buyers.

The PRC, unlike EASA and Transport Canada, has not announced a schedule to test the Boeing 737 Max8. They can now take their time restoring that plane’s rights, because with their EASA certification agreement, its C919 approval can come from the credible European “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”. They no longer dependent on the FAA.

Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval


How Could The EU-China Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement Impact The Industry?

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On September 1st, the EU-China Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement went into effect. The agreement was first signed in Brussels on May 20th, 2019. Mainly concerning the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), this bilateral agreement will simplify “the process of gaining product approvals…while also ensuring high safety and environment standards will continue to be met.” So how will this agreement actually impact the aviation industry?


“I am confident that, thanks to this bilateral agreement, the relations between Europe and China in aviation will be taken to the next level…This further strengthens EASA’s commitment to work closely with international partners on building a safe and environmentally sustainable industry.” -Patrick Ky, Executive Director, EASA



EASA and China’s CAAC start a new era of cooperation


First bilateral agreement meeting held

The entry into force of this Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) was marked by EASA and CAAC holding the first joint Certification Oversight Board (COB) on Thursday, September 3rd.

During the meeting, EASA and CAAC adopted the Technical Implementation Procedures (TIP) which will support the agreement – mainly with regards to airworthiness. These administrative and technical procedures describe how the two civil aviation regulators will conduct the validation and reciprocal acceptance of civil aeronautical product approvals.

The basics of the agreement

Article one of the EU-CAAC BASA states that the two parties agree to the following:

  • (a) enable the reciprocal acceptance…of findings of compliance and certificatesissued by either Party’s Competent Authorities;
  • (b) facilitate the multinational dimension of the civil aviation industry;
  • (c) facilitate and promote the free circulation of civil aeronautical products and services;
  • (d) promote cooperation in order to achieve a high level of civil aviation safety and environmental compatibility.

Among other things, this BASA will apply to the acceptance of airworthiness certificates and the monitoring of civil aeronautical products as well as environmental testing and the operation of aircraft.

*Key phrases have been made bold by Simple Flying as it pertains to this article.

 How will this impact the industry?

A320 C919

While this agreement covers a broad range of aviation aspects, including personnel licensing and training, and air traffic services, let’s focus on the reciprocal acceptance of certificates as well as the ‘free circulation of civil aeronautical products.’

In theory, this agreement will allow for easier acceptance of Chinese-built aircraft within the European Union. The same will obviously apply to EU-built aircraft within China. While seeing European-built aircraft in China (Airbus being the most obvious) is nothing new, the most novel result could be Chinese aircraft flying in European skies.

If you’ve been following the developments in the aviation industry in the last few years, you’ll know that China’s aviation manufacturing capabilities are well on their way to taking on the Boeing-Airbus duopoly. Thus, it seems only a matter of time before a European airline places an order for some ARJ21s and perhaps some C919s in the future. In fact, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is in place with Ryanair for the C919. The EU-CAAC BASA is likely to make the acquisition process even easier.

These are exciting and dynamic times for the aviation industry. The implementation of the EU-China BASA could make things even more interesting.

Do you think this bilateral agreement benefits one party more than the other? Is someone “getting a raw deal?” Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

chinese checkers

Chinese checkers

The global aviation certification game has changed from the FAA and EASA playing checkers to multiple CAAs playing Chinese Checkers?



Chris Loh

Chris Loh

Chris Loh

Deputy Editor – An experienced photographer and video producer, Chris is a journalistic natural. Degree educated with a wealth of traveling history, Chris’ insight into routes, networks, and alliances brings a depth of quality to his work that is hard to beat. His strong relationships with Middle Eastern and Canadian airlines make him an asset to the team. Based in Vancouver, Canada




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1 Comment on "China’s Agreement with EASA elevates its Airworthiness Stature"

  1. Rytis Beresnevicius
    Is FAA’s status as leading global aviation authority crumbling?

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