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Cologne, December, 2014  

  Contents: Editorial - Interview - Featured topic - Figure of the month - News & events

On Air, Issue 6

Safety First

2014 has been a very challenging year for EASA and for aviation safety in general. The disappearance of MH370, the dramatic accident of  MH17, the radar interferences over central Europe and the near mid-air collisions over the Baltic sea have reminded us that safety can never be taken for granted.
The safety of flying passengers is at the core of EASA’s role. T

his is precisely why the Agency made a number of proposals in 2014:
-          Technical solutions for flight tracking, Voice recorders and Underwater Location devices in line with the framework set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),
-          to build a European alert system to assess, qualify and share the information available in order to help airlines perform their risk-assessment when flying over conflict zones,
-          a new technical approach to controller-pilots communication via Data-Link, in order to solve the current operational problems .
-          a comprehensive investigation report on the radar interferences situation of last summer.

Safety first is also the reason why EASA has adopted a new approach towards General Aviation in order to change fundamentally the way the sector is regulated and overseen in Europe.

In 2014, we certified the Airbus A350 which is about to be delivered to Qatar Airways. It is the first commercial aircraft entirely certified by EASA from the application to the type certificate. Since the application received from Airbus in April 2007, EASA engineers and test pilots have actively and intensively worked to ensure that this type of aircraft is safe, covering the full range of the programme from structure to avionics, from cabin safety to flight tests etc.

Aviation is constantly evolving and reinventing itself with innovative business models and new technologies in order to achieve greater efficiencies. In turn, regulators are faced with the challenge to be more efficient and flexible, thus enabling further growth for aviation. Effective since the 1st of September 2014, EASA’s new organisation lays down the Agency’s foundations for the next 10 years and is well suited to meet the challenges of the aviation sector.

2015 is on a course to be yet another challenging year: there will be a proposal from the European Commission for the revision of the EASA founding regulation, the work on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems at European level promises to be substantial. Finally the ICAO High Level Safety Conference will set new objectives for aviation safety.

Patrick Ky

EASA Executive Director

European Commission's vision on Aviation


Mr João Aguiar Machado is the Director-General at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport. He is in charge of developing an EU transport policy that ensures sustainable mobility of people and goods in a single European transport area. Previously he worked mostly on trade matters, including as Deputy Director-General for Trade and for External Relations. Mr Aguiar Machado studied economics in Lisbon and Bruges.


What do you identify as key priorities for aviation after your first 6 months as Director General?
The EU single aviation market was completed in 1997 and is one of the success stories of the European Union. It has brought significant benefits to EU citizens, with greater connectivity, lower costs and more choice. In the EU we have nearly 10 million flights and more than 800 million passengers every year, which is almost one third of the total number of passengers travelling by air worldwide. Europe is a key player in international aviation, well-connected internally and with the world. It is a connecting place thanks to its geographical position, its history and the creation of a single aviation market that replaced 28 separate national markets.

Despite these stunning numbers, the economic crisis and the need to re-boost growth and create jobs makes a strong case to work towards more efficient markets, technological leadership and quality investment in infrastructures. Also, Europe faces competition from new players such as the Gulf countries or Turkey. They also enjoy strategic geographical positions and can connect passengers from different world regions through strong airlines and large airports. This, together with the fact that the growth is taking place mainly in the Asia-Pacific region, means that Europe's competitive position is being challenged.

We want to keep Europe as a key player in international aviation to ensure EU's connectivity. This means that competitiveness, employment, environment and safety will be the aviation sector's core priorities. We will focus on the capacity challenges both on the ground and in the sky with the crucial implementation of Single European Sky initiative and its technological pillar, SESAR, on better implementation of existing legislation, and on the application of the fair competition principles in both internal and external markets. 

With the ongoing work on the revision of EASA’s basic regulation, how do you see the responsibilities of the Agency evolve in the future?
Over the last 10 years EASA has been central in building an EU aviation safety system. The revision of the EASA Basic Regulation provides us with an opportunity to consolidate this system and prepare it for the challenges ahead.
In particular the risk and performance based approach to aviation safety, on which the Agency has already embarked to some extent, will need to be further developed. This approach requires a sound evidence to allow decisions to be taken based on the best information available. EASA should play a decisive role in facilitating the collection and exchange of data and in assuring its analysis. In addition, a closer cooperation between Member States and EASA, but also among Member States themselves, should allow for a better use of expertise in a situation with limited resources.
In order to work as a truly single aviation safety system in Europe, we should continue to improve cooperation based on a close partnership between National Aviation Authorities and EASA.

How do you think this will support the European aviation industry?
An excellent safety record is one of the best assets for industry. We have to work on maintaining or even improving this safety record. Rendering the regulatory system more proportional and performance based will be an important step in this direction.
However, the industry keeps pointing out that too many rules hamper innovation, and this concern should be taken seriously. Aeronautics is one of the strategic sectors of European economy, creating high value-jobs and driving technological innovation, to the benefit of other industries too.
By focussing on a close partnership between National Aviation Authorities and EASA, we hope to achieve a more uniform implementation of the regulatory system, which will help to assure a genuine level playing field within Europe. But we are not only acting within a European system. Promoting the European approach to safety at international level, be it in ICAO or through bilateral agreements, will also open further possibilities for Europe's aviation industry on the global market.

The mission of the Directorate-General for mobility and transport states "ensure efficient mobility within a single European transport area". What needs to be improved in European air transport domain?
To creation of a Single Market for Transport needs two main actions in order to be effective and contribute to the overall economic growth of Europe: the elimination of cross-border barriers, and the integration of national markets. Existing EU legislation goes in this direction by aiming at opening market access, achieving technical compatibility, and remove administrative barriers. All of it while ensuring high level of safety.

The aviation sector is fully part of this overall transport picture, but much work can be done to improve it, with the objective of ensuring maximum connectivity and allow maintaining and creating high-value jobs. The reform of Europe's air traffic control system, outlined in the SES initiatives, will certainly have a central role for the years to come. The Commission is looking to head off a capacity crunch expected in the next 10-20 years, and to tackle the costly inefficiencies of the fragmented EU airspace. As for safety, we have to improve our ability to identify risks, addressing proportionality of rules and making better use of the limited resources available.



Electronic Gadgets in the Air: EASA changes your Christmas travel experience!

Christmas season is the time of travel and also the time of unwrapping gifts, which often are gadgets and electronic devices. In the past year EASA has made several changes which aim to make both the travel experience more fun and the use of electronic gadgets more… frequent!

One of the biggest improvements EASA brought in 2014 to the travelling public has been to allow airlines to permit the use of Personal Electronic Devices (PED) on-board aircraft throughout the duration of the trip. The term “Personal Electronic Device” includes phones, smartphones, tablets, e-books, mp3 players etc.

The Agency’s guidance describes the process through which an airline may ensure there can be no adverse safety effects from the operation of PED from passengers in the cabin. By using this guidance, an airline may allow passengers to use their electronic devices during phases of flight that were prohibited before; for example after aircraft landing or during the taxi to the airport terminal building. This latest action of the Agency is ultimately paving the way for the introduction of gate-to-gate telecommunication services on-board.

In other words, it allows airlines to permit passengers to use their electronic devices in airplanes just like they would in any other mean of transport, e.g. trains.Of course, in order to make meaningful use of some of these devices (connection to the internet or phone calls) an airline will have to offer appropriate telecommunication services. For example, the airline will need to install specific equipment in the aircraft and make other arrangements for satellite or ground based connection services.

It is up to each individual airline to decide whether to make use of EASA’s guidance material or not. Even when an airline updates its policy allowing passengers to use their electronic devices in more phases of flight than just during cruising, the crew may at any time, ask passengers to stop using them or even store them away.

Passengers should always follow cabin crew instructions, because safety is everyone’s priority.

More information on PEDs under: www.easa.europa.eu


Since 2004 there have been 946,595 safety occurrences reported to the European Central Repository.  This is a vital resources that is used to support the identification of safety issues in the European Aviation Safety Plan.

Source:EASA Safety Analysis & Research department


8 December 2014: EASA will analyse near mid-air collisions involving military aircraft

16 December 2014: EASA certified the Embraer Legacy 500 Executive Jet.


29 January 2015 : 5th Certification Workshop with Industry representatives

Save the date! The EASA - FAA International Aviation Safety Conference will take place from 10 to 12 June 2015 in Brussels.





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