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European Aviation Safety Agency

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The European Aviation Safety Agency promotes the highest common standards of safety and environmental protection in civil aviation in Europe and worldwide. It is the centerpiece of a new regulatory system which provides for a single European market in the aviation industry.

  • The EASA is an agency of theEuropean Union (EU) with offices in Cologne, Germany, which has been given regulatory and executive tasks in the field of civilian aviation safety. It was created on 15 July 2002, and it reached full functionality in 2008, taking over functions of the JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities).
the agency s responsibilities include
The agency's responsibilities include:
  • expert advice to the EU for drafting new legislation;
  • implementing and monitoring safety rules, including inspections in the Member States;
  • type-certification of aircraft and components, as well as the approval of organizations involved in the design, manufacture and maintenance of aeronautical products;
  • authorization of third-country (non EU) operators;
  • safety analysis and research.

As a Community body, EASA provides the Commission with all the technical expertise it requires and assists it in exercising its legislative and regulatory tasks. The Agency prepares technical opinions which form the basis of the legislative proposals of the Commission. EASA is also responsible for carrying out standardization inspections to monitor the uniform application of Community legislation in Member States, evaluate its effects and make the necessary recommendations.


For instance, EASA is entirely responsible for the certification of aircraft types and other aeronautical products. EASA also issues certificates for organizations located in third countries. The national authorities of the Member States continue however to issue individual certificates to aircraft and most organizations and personnel located in their territory.

  • Currently the scope of competences of EASA encompasses all aspects related to airworthiness and environmental certification of aeronautical products, parts and appliances. In addition, the scope of Community safety rules and of the corresponding responsibilities of EASA, were recently extended to the training and licensing of crews, flight operations, aerodrome safety and safety of air traffic management and provision of air navigation services.

EASA is an essential component for the management of civil aviation safety risk. Applying rigorous processes, indicators of safety performance will be provided so as to measure the level of safety experienced by users of the European aviation system. Timely and reliable information of high integrity will be provided to support the decision making processes of the Agency and its partners.

the main activities in this domain are
The main activities in this domain are:
  • Effective communication of the Safety Department output so that advantage may be taken of its findings;
  • To be recognized as a fair, independent and objective source of safety knowledge;
  • To be a centre of excellence for aviation safety:
  • safety data processing;
  • safety analysis;
  • publications;
  • corrective action;
  • research and
  • improvement;
  • Work in partnership with the European States, the industry and those charged with aviation safety responsibilities worldwide.
strategic safety
Strategic Safety
  • The success of civil aviation depends on the achievement of a high level of safety. This transport system transcends borders, applies rapidly advancing technology and carries ever more passengers. Mechanisms are in place striving for continuous improvement by ensuring that lessons are learned from experience. Those mechanisms must be strengthened and applied rigorously across the aviation system.

Over time EASA aims to play its part in reducing the number of fatal accidents and fatalities irrespective of the volume of air traffic. Safety has to be managed. Safety management is anchored in EASA impacting all aspects of the organizations activities.

  • An integrated set of regulations is being built and will be maintained to meet the above objectives. Applying rigorous processes, indicators of safety performance will be provided so as to measure the level of safety. Timely and reliable information of high integrity will be provided to support the decision making processes of the Agency and its partners.
european aviation safety programme easp and plan easp
European Aviation Safety Programme (EASP) and Plan (EASp)
  • Europe is a pioneer in this endeavour as no other region in the world has a structure that turns safety management into action. The European Commission's Communication2 on a Safety Management System at EU level sets out how EASA can facilitate the building of a pro-active safety management system for Europe. The simultaneous publication of the European Aviation Safety Programme (EASP) provides the European structure for the management of aviation safety using a total system approach, but is no more than the launch of a programme that will need to be regularly updated to reflect future developments in safety management at EU level. Within the framework described in the EASP lies the European Aviation Safety plan (EASp) which provides a detailed description of significant safety issues together with clear actions and deliverables to address the risks. These documents essentially provide the basis for the priority setting that the Agency must carry out in dealing with specific safety issues.
The activities in the field of Product Safety Oversight and related activities can be summarized under two main areas:
  • 1. Product safety oversight, split in the following areas:

a. Airworthiness and environmental certification of aeronautical products, parts and appliances (IAW);

b. Continuing Airworthiness Oversight (CAW), including mandatory corrective actions;

c. Operations related approvals and recommendations, including the qualification of Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTD);

d. Product safety related services to external stakeholders.

  • 2. ATM/ANS-related activities, covering the following systems:

a. The systems operated by pan-European ATM and ANS services providers, e.g. EGNOS today and Galileo and IRIS in the future;

b. The systems used by the European ATM network managers;

c. Future systems as, for example developed under SESAR.

safety assessment of foreign aircraft
Safety Assessment Of Foreign Aircraft
  • This section explains the European Community Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) programme established by the European Commission (EC) and the role and responsibilities the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has in it. It was published on 30 April 2004 , creating a legal obligation upon EU Member States to perform ramp inspections upon third country aircraft landing at their airports. This is the basic legal instrument underpinning what is known as the EC SAFA programme.
international requirements
International Requirements
  • International civil aviation is governed by the Convention on International Civil Aviation (commonly known as the Chicago Convention). Under this Convention, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a specialised agency of the United Nations, sets the minimum Standards and Recommended Practices for international civil aviation. These standards are contained in 18 Annexes to the Convention. Individual States remain responsible for regulating their aviation industries but have to take into account the requirements of the Convention and the minimum standards established by ICAO.
the main standards that apply to airlines are in three of the 18 annexes
The main standards that apply to airlines are in three of the 18 Annexes.
  • Annex 1 deals with personnel licensing including flight crew
  • Annex 6 deals with the operation of aircraft
  • Annex 8 dealswithairworthiness.

The responsibility for implementing Annexes 1 and 8 rests with the State of Registry, that is the State in which the aircraft is registered. The responsibility for implementing Annex 6 rests with the State of Operator, the State in which the airline is based. Often the State of Operator and the State of Registry will be the same, as airlines tend to operate aircraft registered in the State in which they are based.


Significant increases in the volume of air travel over the last decades or so have made it more of a burden for many States to oversee their airlines in compliance with the Chicago Convention. To maintain confidence in the system, and to protect the interest of the European citizens who may be living in the vicinity of airports or travelling onboard a third-country aircraft, the Community identified the need to effectively enforce international safety standards within the Community.


This is done through the execution of ramp inspections on third-country aircraft landing at the airports located in the Member States. The official definition of 'third-country aircraft' is an aircraft which is not used or operated under the control of a competent authority of a Community Member State.


The principles of the programme are simple: in each EU Member State and those States who have entered into a specific 'SAFA' Working Arrangement with EASA, third country aircraft may be inspected. These inspections follow a procedure common to all Member States and are then reported on using a common format. If an inspection identifies significant irregularities, these will be taken up with the airline and the oversight authority. Where irregularities have an immediate impact on safety, inspectors can demand corrective action before they allow the aircraft to leave.


The 42 Member States engaged in the EC SAFA Programme are: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Georgia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine.


All reported data is stored centrally in a computerized database set up by EASA. The database also holds supplementary information, such as lists of actions carried out following inspections. The information held within this database is reviewed and analyzed by EASA on a regular basis. The European Commission and Member States are informed of any potentially safety hazards identified. On behalf of and in close cooperation with the European Commission EASA will develop qualitative criteria with the aim to achieve a more focused approach regarding the SAFA inspection priorities.


Data reported by the inspectors in each Member State is stored centrally in a computerized database set up by the JAA. The database also holds supplementary information, for example lists of actions carried out by the air carrier after the inspections. Furthermore the information in the database is reviewed and analyzed by the JAA regularly, and the Member States are informed of any potential safety hazards which have been identified.

  • However, SAFA inspections only regarded as on-the-spot assessments and the organization stresses that inspections are not a substitute for proper regulatory oversight (which is required under the Chicago Convention) and are not a guarantee for the airworthiness of a particular aircraft.

From 2006, SAFA Programme is under the responsibility of the European Commission, supported by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), regulated by different directives and regulations.

  • Although there is a legal obligation to perform inspections on third country aircraft, there is no objection that Member States inspect airlines from other Member States engaged in the EC SAFA Programme.
  • It has to be stressed that SAFA inspections are limited to on-the-spot assessments and cannot substitute for proper regulatory oversight. Ramp inspections serve as pointers, but they cannot guarantee the airworthiness of a particular aircraft.

In the EC SAFA Programme there are many stakeholders participating: the European Commission (EC), EASA, the Member States and Eurocontrol. They come together regularly in the Air Safety Committee meetings (ASC) and the European SAFA Steering expert Group (ESSG) meetings.

  • The European Commission carries overall responsibility and has the legislative powers. EASA is responsible for some specific executive tasks as specified in Commission Regulation 768 (regarding the collection and exchange of information on the safety of aircraft using Community airports and the management of the information system).
the specified role and responsibilities of easa in the ec safa programme are
The specified role and responsibilities of EASA in the EC SAFA Programme are:
  • collect by means of a centralised database the inspection reports of the Member States engaged in the EC SAFA Programme;
  • maintain and further develop the centralised database;
  • analyse all relevant information concerning the safety of aircraft and its operators;
  • report potential aviation safety problems to European Commission and the Member States;
  • advise the European Commission and the Member States on follow-up actions;
  • advise on the future development and strategy of the EC SAFA Programme;
  • develop SAFA procedures;
  • develop training programmes and foster its organization and implementation.

Based upon its technical expertise EASA supports the EC with the implementation of the EC SAFA programme in the Community and as such ensuring that appropriate follow-up measures are initiated based upon the SAFA inspection that have been performed.

  • The Member States that are engaged in the EC SAFA programme (being either an EU Member State or a non-EU ECAC Member State who have entered into a Working Arrangement with EASA) are obliged to perform SAFA Ramp Checks on the aircraft of third country operators flying into their state. And, when needed, take appropriate corrective measures in addition to disseminate the results of these inspections to other participants in the EC SAFA programme.

In the Air Safety Committee (ASC) the EU Member States are represented having an (legislative) advisory role regarding in particular through performance of the following tasks:

  • assist the European Commission with the adoption of harmonised implementation measures in order to enhance the effectiveness of the EC SAFA programme such as the approval of SAFA procedures;
  • assist the European Commission with decisions related to corrective measures taken in respect of specific operators or operators of a specific third country (Community List).

In the European SAFA Steering expert Group (ESSG) the non-EU ECAC Member States engaged in the EC SAFA Programme together with the EU Member States are represented having an (technical) advisory role regarding in particular through performance of the following tasks:

  • Assisting the European Commission (in a consultative role) in relation to proposals from EASA prior to their submission to the ASC, regarding the overall safety oversight policy of the EC SAFA programme, possible actions to be taken in specific safety cases and recommendations for the further development of the SAFA programme, including the amendment of SAFA procedures;
  • Communicating to the Commission feedback upon the national implementation of the SAFA programme in their State;
  • Reviewing and reacting upon the SAFA Database analysis which EASA is required to conduct on a frequent basis.

Oversight authorities of the Member States engaged in the EC SAFA Programme choose which aircraft to inspect. Some authorities carry out random inspections while others try to target aircraft or airlines that they suspect may not comply with ICAO standards. In either case only a very small proportion of third country aircraft operating into each State are inspected.

  • Depending on the volume of third country flights and the availability of inspectors in each Member State, the number of inspections may vary from relatively few to several hundred each year.
checks may include
Checks may include:
  • licencesofthepilots;
  • procedures and manuals that should be carried in the cockpit;
  • compliance with these procedures by flight and cabin crew;
  • safety equipment in cockpit and cabin;
  • cargo carried in the aircraft; and
  • the technical condition of the aircraft.

A checklist of 54 inspection items is used during a SAFA Ramp Check. As the time between arrival and departure (the turn-around time) may not be sufficient to go through the full checklist, not all 54 items may be inspected. It is SAFA policy not to delay an aircraft except for safety reasons.