In order to assess the possibility for further action on the EU level, the Commission published a short online questionnaire on the subject, which included 6 questions.
Aviation safety stands today at a very high level. However, air traffic in Europe is expected to grow significantly in the coming decades. In order to maintain that safe track record, and further improve the safety levels, additional measures must be taken. The European Commission has indicated in its White Paper on European Transport Policy for 2010 and in the mid-term review of the White Paper its policy to at least maintain the current safety standards, despite the growing volume and complexity of air operations.
Directives 94/56/EC and 2003/42/EC were established to increase aviation safety by learning from aviation accidents and incidents. Directive 94/56/EC established Aviation Accident Safety Investigation Independent Bodies (AIBs) at national level. Subsequent Directive 2003/42/EC introduced occurrence reporting by individual aviation professionals, in all cases where safety concerns might emerge. These occurrences may in fact be precursor of an accident at a later date, so their early identification and analysis might prevent more severe accidents in the future. The same Directive 2003/42 initiated the development of software tools (programme ECCAIRS under the responsibility of the EC Joint Research Centre – JRC), potentially suitable for a central European safety data base architecture, which could allow Aviation Authorities and Agencies, at national and European level, to share common information in order to undertake their respective studies and analysis.
The White Paper on Transport also addressed the issue of accident investigation. It was indicated that transport accidents and incidents should be better investigated, independently and only for safety purposes. The Commission therefore established a group of independent experts, whose task was, inter alia, to recommend improvements to existing legislation. A restricted consultation process was carried out within this framework. The related Aviation Sub Group of this group of independent experts concluded its work in May 2006, and indeed it identified the need to revise the existing subject legislation.
The European Commission has assigned the company ECORYS the task to carry out an impact assessment study for a possible revision of both Directives 94/56/EC and 2003/42/EC. An important element of the impact assessment is the stakeholders’ consultation process. In this process, relevant stakeholders are asked for their opinion concerning the various options for such a revision. Results of stakeholders’ consultation are input in the impact assessment study, which is an important contribution for determining the intervention logic and possible consequences of an intervention