What’s a RSOO and shouldn’t the FAA be participating in this global safety initiative?

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Regional Safety Oversight Organisations (RSOOs)

Idea of Regional Organizations to Improve Aviation Safety

Origins 2005 Flight Safety Foundation work for ICAO

Now a major global network with heavy EASA involvement

FAA: IASA work or RSOO collaboration

The origins of RSOOs can be traced to a 2005 ICAO Air Navigation Commission outreach to industry (the Industry Safety Strategy Group (ICAO, IATA, ACI, Airbus, Boeing, Civil Air Navigation Safety Organization, IFALPA and the Flight Safety Foundation). The group charged FSF to draw up a road map to improve the quality and competency of the world’s civil aviation authority. The Report recommended attacking the issue on regional bases, bringing together CAAs from the same area; for they faced many similar issues.

The analysis relied heavily on data provided by ICAO, FAA, EASA and IATA. The solutions suggested some of the sophisticated regulatory mechanisms now accepted as standard. The map started out with regional action plans and teams.

Today, the actors have evolved into Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programmes (COSCAPs), Regional Safety Oversight Organizations (RSOOs) and Regional Accident and Incident Investigation Organizations (RAIOs). ICAO explains that some of its Member States “have challenges in providing safety oversight and resolving their safety deficiencies due to insufficient financial, technical and/or qualified human resources. COSCAPs and RSOOs provide means for the CAAs to collaborate and share resources to improve their safety oversight capabilities. COSCAPs and RSOOs play an important role by supporting the establishment and operation of a performance-based safety system by analyzing safety information and hazards to aviation at a regional level and reviewing the action plans developed within the region. There are several COSCAPs and RSOOs which are already well established and operational in regions around the world.”

The RAIOs provide economies of scale by pooling and sharing of required resources which would allow States with insufficient resources to undertake effective investigations, thus fulfilling their obligations under Article 26 of the Chicago Convention.

The list of these Members shows the degree to which this ICAO support is needed:

BAGAIA Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency Africa Cabo Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone
GRIAA Regional Group for Air Accidents Investigation Central America Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
IAC Interstate Aviation Committee European Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Russian Federation
AAMAC Autorités Africaines Et Malgaches de l’Aviation Civile Africa Benin; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Comoros; Congo; Cote d’Ivoire; Gabon; Guinea-Bissau; Equatorial Guinea; Madagascar; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Senegal; Togo
ACSA Central American Agency of Aviation Safety Central America Belize; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Nicaragua
AFI-CIS AFI Cooperative Inspectorate Scheme Africa African States
ASSA-AC Agence De Supervision De La Securite Aerienne En Afrique Centrale Africa Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Equatorial Guinea; and Gabon
BAGASOO Banjul Accord Group Aviation Safety Oversight Organization Africa Cape Verde; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Liberia; Nigeria; Sierra Leone
CASSOA Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency Africa Burundi; Kenya; Rwanda; South Sudan, Tanzania; Uganda
CASSOS Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System Caribbean Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago
COSCAP-NA Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programme – North Asia Asia China; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Mongolia; Republic of Korea
COSCAP-SA Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programme – South Asia Asia Bangladesh; Bhutan; India; Maldives; Nepal; Pakistan; Sri Lanka
COSCAP-SEA Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programme – South East Asia Asia Cambodia; Indonesia; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; Viet Nam; Brunei Darussalam; Timor-Leste.
COSCAP-UEMOA Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programme – West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) Africa Benin; Burkina Faso; Côte d’Ivoire; Guinea-Bissau; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Senegal; Togo
EASA European Aviation Safety Agency European Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxemburg; Malta; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; The Netherlands; United Kingdom
ECCAA Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority Caribbean Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada
IAC Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) & Commonwealth of Independent States project European Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Republic of Moldova; Russian Federation; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan
iSASO Interim SADC Aviation Safety Organisation Africa Angola; Botswana; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Lesotho; Madagascar; \ Malawi; Mauritius; Mozambique; Namibia; Seychelles; South Africa; Swaziland; Tanzania; Zambia; Zimbabwe
PASO Pacific Aviation Safety Office Pacific Australia; Cook Islands; Fiji; Kiribati; Nauru; New Zealand; Niue; Papua New Guinea; Samoa; Solomon Islands; Tonga; Vanuatu
SRVSOP Latin American Regional Safety Oversight Cooperation System South America Argentina; Bolivia; Brazil; Chile, Colombia; Cuba; Ecuador; Panamá, Paraguay; Perú, Uruguay; Venezuela

EASA is an RSOO (needing assistance?) and participates actively in their meetings. Indeed, the EU safety organization has a web page devoted to the global aviation safety teams—The World Bank is impressed by the value of these organizations and supports their activities.

“RSOOs are a means through which a group of States collaborate, share best practices, safety oversight tasks and resources, with the aim to establish and maintain an effective aviation safety oversight system.

In Europe, 28 EU Member States and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have agreed to cooperate in the area of aviation safety. EASA, as an Agency of the European Union, is an RSOO for Europe. EASA carries out tasks which have been transferred from States to the EU and is assisting States in the implementation of the safety regulatory framework, e.g. by providing training.

There are many other RSOOs in other regions of the world.

More recently, ICAO and EASA organised the RSOO Forum 2017. The Forum endorsed a Global Strategy and Action Plan for the Improvement of RSOOs and the Establishment of a Global System for the Provision of Safety Oversight. The Strategy and Action Plan foresee also the set-up of an RSOO Cooperative Platform. EASA is supporting ICAO in its RSOO activities.”


EASA’s Director Patrick Ky has written an enlightening paper on his organization and its work with RSOOs:

Have you heard of the Forum on Regional Safety Oversight Organizations (RSOOs) held in 2017? ICAO and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) jointly organized this Forum in March 2017 in Swaziland to discuss how regional cooperation can be enhanced for ensuring effective and efficient safety oversight and which benefit regional cooperation mechanisms can bring to States.

Perhaps you are still wondering about the benefits of an RSOO compared to the default system in which each State takes care of its own ICAO responsibilities independently? Let’s look at an obvious example of regional cooperation in Europe. EASA is the RSOO for Europe. It exists since 2003 and has 32 European Member States.

In some areas EASA has an exclusive competences; for example the type certification of aircraft. This means that an aircraft is only certified by EASA instead of 32 authorities and that the type certificate is recognised in all Member States without any additional conditions. This is a great efficiency gain – not only for the national authorities but also manufacturers which have a “one-stop shop” for all design related and type certification issues.

With this experience, EASA is supporting ICAO in the implementation of the Global Strategy and Action Plan for RSOOs. EASA is providing resources to ICAO, and is in particular supporting the set-up of the RSOO Cooperative Platform. With this Platform bringing RSOOs together to exchange best practices, share information and collaborate on common work, EASA is keen to share its experience, to learn from others and to see other RSOOs growing in a similar way, adapted to their region. This is why EASA is also supporting RSOOs worldwide through technical assistance projects

The RSOO conference held in Swaziland made it clear that EASA was a co-sponsor:

Even more telling was the list of participants:

Administrator Huerta made it clear that the FAA should prioritize international relations with colleague CAAs when he said:

We also need to continue to capitalize on the experience of existing groups to share safety information and best practices.  ICAO’s regional groups, of course, are important players in global aviation safety, and have been very proactive.  And, the data-sharing agreement that we have signed with ICAO, IATA, and the European Commission is an important part of this relationship.


























While the FAA expends considerable efforts[1] into its International Aviation Safety Assessments, a program which “audits” CAAs,  its International Affairs website does not indicate that RSOOs are a part of its program. The FAA’s current regulatory regimen emphasizes preventative efforts.

Might not relying on others’ audits and reprogramming those funds to working with CAAs in the RSOOs? FSF initiated this program; so, following EASA’s lead might be more effective.

[1] ICAO and EASA perform similar reviews of the CAAs. Redundant?


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