EASA Director Ky’s statement on FAA certification
Rep. Graves (R-Mo) and Graves (R-LA) ask Sec. Butigeig to question
Earlier Actions by EASA and others have wounded/killed BASA?
The Republican House T&I leadership have written to the Secretary of Transportation asking him to request EASA to reassure the validity of the US-EU Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) . The precipitant of the unique inquiry was a statement by EASA Director-General Patrick Ky in January that EASA “will increase our level of involvement [and] our level of independent review of U.S. projects in order to build our own safety assessments.”
The Ky quotes are the most obvious pronouncement that the EU/EASA no longer regard the BASA as binding, but hardly the first!
In fact, the initial assault on the BASA was the action of EASA on March 12,2019, which abrogated the terms of that agreement in which the parties reciprocate recognition of their respective technical and certification competence. Other Civil Aviation Authorities followed this example. Specifically, this European order– prohibiting flights by the Boeing Max 8 within to or from its jurisdiction, the EASA Emergency Airworthiness Directive —was issued WITHOUT ANY SPECIFIC CITATION AIRWORTHINESS ISSUE. In retrospect this preventative action appears justified, but at the time of this grounding order, there was no known reason why the two aircraft had crashed.
My colleague, Ms. Irene Howie, one of the world’s leading experts on the international aviation safety treaties, has opined that EASA’s course of conduct is a threat to Article 33 of the Chicago Convention, the agreement upon which a network of civil aviation authorities is based. Perhaps the European actions were taken without thought of the consequences—if the BASA network of agreements and the Chicago Convention have been terminated, that would be a horrendous blow to these pillars.
That may seem to many to be an insignificant loss and the debate would involve scholars discussing legal principles. The damage of such a death can be best quantified by the tens of thousands of hours devoted by the CAA experts in examining, comparing, and determining the aircraft certification expertise of their colleague CAAs. An execution of a BASA was the product of years( as many as 10 years by each CAA) of careful audit of the other party. All that would be lost.
The reciprocal efforts of these BASA audits have identified points of concurrence between and among the participants. Though not intended, increased knowledge of their standards has resulted in simplification and/or harmonization of the certification criteria.
There is no doubt that the aftermath of the Max 8 tragedy is a heavy task for the FAA to reassure its counterparts that lessons learned are being implemented. Ky’s comments are caustic in word choice, but not far from valid concerns. Cutting criticism may have lacerated these agreements.
by Kerry Lynch
– February 15, 2021, 12:07 PM
Republican leaders on the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee are expressing concern that the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) may be considering approaches to certification that are contrary to bilateral agreements. In a letter last week to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Reps. Sam Graves (R-Missouri) and Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) cited EASA Director-General Patrick Ky’s statements in January that EASA “will increase our level of involvement [and] our level of independent review of U.S. projects in order to build our own safety assessments.”
Those statements before the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism were made during a discussion on EASA’s recertification of the Boeing 737 Max.
But Sam Graves, who is the ranking Republican on T&I, and Garret Graves, the top Republican on the aviation subcommittee, worry that this statement is being interpreted to mean that EASA “intends to move away from the established practice of relying on the FAA for the certification of U.S. aircraft and products, and…will assert a more independent role in clearing their airworthiness.”
The lawmakers fear these changes in established certification validation practices are intended to apply to all U.S. aircraft and products, regardless of existing practices under the U.S.-EU Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA). “We are very concerned that Director-General Ky’s comments could be taken as a groundless attack on the BASA, the FAA’s safety certification regime, and U.S. aerospace manufacturers generally,” they said. “His statement appears to unilaterally undermine the core premise of the BASA, which is based upon reciprocity between comparable certification systems.”
The U.S.-EU BASA is built on a partnership between the regulatory authorities, and the recognition and acceptance of their respective work is a key tenet, they said. “However, Director-General Ky’s statement related to EASA’s change in certification validation clearly suggests a broad, across-the-board change rather than a targeted, risk-based approach,” the lawmakers said, suggesting this could cause confusion.
The lawmakers asked Buttigieg to confirm that EASA’s plans do not violate the BASA.
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