March 28, 2012

For the past six years the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has been working to develop a new set of regulations covering all flight operations throughout the European Union (EU). While major parts of this process have been completed, work still remains, and the final regulations will not be issued in April 2012 as planned. EASA now plans to have the final regulations for non-commercial operators completed by the end of 2012.

While these are rules for EU-registered operators, foreign operators must comply with the rules of the state in which they are operating so long as the requirements do not go beyond what is specified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In some cases, they have requirements that exceed those contained in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).

The new EASA rules of most interest to many NBAA Members are those pertaining to “complex motor-powered aircraft” used in non-commercial operations. This covers all aircraft over 12,500 pounds MTOW; turbojet powered aircraft; or multi-engine turboprop aircraft.

In creating the new rules, EASA is electing to adopt many of the provisions in Annex 6, Part 2 of the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) some of which the FAA does not require at this time. Although the FAA does not require compliance with these items, once the new EASA rules come into effect, operators must comply with them while operating in the EU.

The specific items of note from Annex 6, Part 2 that will likely be required under the EASA rules are:

  • Safety management system (SMS)
  • Fatigue management program
  • Operational control system
  • Operations manual
  • Minimum equipment list for certain aircraft

While these are new requirements for many operators, the EASA regulations are being developed to allow significant flexibility. For example, the rules allow many of the requirements to be met by using industry developed programs such as the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO).