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European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

The discussions on the establishment of a European safety body in the EU date back to as early as 1996, but it was only in 2002 that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was established as a self standing Community body. Initially based in Brussels, it moved to Cologne in 2003 and currently constitutes the centrepiece of the EU aviation safety policy.

Established on the basis of the Regulation (EC) 1592/2002 (currently Regulation (EC) 216/2008 ), EASA builds on the experiences and cooperation of the former group of European aviation regulators, know as the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA), which ceased its activities in July 2009.

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 standardisation inspections to monitor the uniform application of Community legislation in Member States, evaluate its effects and make the necessary recommendations.

In the EU certificates attesting that aeronautical products, organizations and personnel comply with the common rules are issued either by the competent national authorities of the Member States or by EASA. EASA has been entrusted with the responsibility to issue certificates in lieu of Member States when it has been considered more efficient. 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, under EASA monitoring, individual certificates to aircraft and most organizations and personnel located in their territory. Such certificates are issued on the basis of common, directly applicable safety standards and mutually recognized across the Community, which guarantees uniform level of safety for the traveling public and level playing field for the commercial operators across the EU.

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 (of both Community and third country operators), aerodrome safety and safety of air traffic management and provision of air navigation services. These new competences will be gradually exercised with the adoption of the related implementing rules.