map of Europe with pins

July 21, 2017

During a recent meeting with NBAA officials, Vincent Lambotte, EASA’s senior foreign operators team leader, indicated that commercial operators should expect continued communication from EASA regarding their third-country operator (TCO) authorization.

The initial implementation phase concluded in November 2016, and operators should make sure their contact information is updated and a backup point of contact is listed in anticipation of ongoing surveillance.

TCO was established to centralize safety authorizations for commercial operators. Instead of applying for a safety authorization from each country an operator intends to visit, operators now apply for one authorization to access the entire European Union, resulting in a reduced administrative burden. However, operators must still apply to each member state for landing rights.

Lambotte cautioned operators to be prepared for continued communication and surveillance. Despite the TCO authorization not having an expiration date, EASA will reach out to individual operators, within 24 months of when they received their initial authorization, to ensure continued compliance. If requests for follow-up go unanswered, it may result in a flag on the operator’s account and possible suspension of the given authorization.

Consequently, it is important for operators to ensure a backup point of contact is listed, stressed NBAA Manager, Operations Brian Koester.

During the TCO review, operators can expect EASA to ask for evidence that pilots are conducting proficiency checks twice a year to meet International Civil Aviation Organization standards. EASA will also request key performance indicators for the required safety management system program.

“Operators are also encouraged to keep their list of aircraft updated,” Koester said. “Most operators are good about adding a new aircraft, but many forget to remove an aircraft once it is sold or taken off their certificate. This can result in complications for new owners that fly the aircraft to Europe, either under Part 91 or on a new air carrier certificate.