Mobility and Transport


European Aviation Safety Rules

European Aviation Safety Rules

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Common safety rules constitute the backbone of the EU aviation safety system. They provide for a uniform level of requirements for operators, manufacturers and aviation personnel, thus facilitating the flow of products, persons and services in the internal market, and allowing for mutual recognition of safety certificates, reducing the administrative burden and workload for the national authorities and the industry.

Regulatory Framework

In 2002, the EU adopted the first set of a new generation of aviation safety rules based on Regulation (EC) No 1592/2002 , which also established the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as the cornerstone of the European aviation safety system. This initial set of rules covered airworthiness and environmental certification and maintenance of aeronautical products as well as the training and licensing of aeronautical mechanics and technicians.

In 2008, by virtue of Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 , the EU extended the common aviation safety rules and the corresponding responsibilities of EASA to aircraft operations and aircrew licensing and training. In 2009, the EU adopted a second extension of the common rules covering safety aspects of aerodrome operations and provision of air navigation services and air traffic management ( Regulation (EC) No 1108/2009 ).

Aviation safety rules are adopted by the European Commission on the basis of technical opinions issued by the EASA. Proper implementation of the rules is regularly monitored by the Commission with the assistance of EASA, which carries out regular inspections in all Member States. Enforcement actions can be taken if safety deficiencies are detected and not corrected. These can involve suspension of the mutual recognition of certificates or penalties imposed on certificate holders.

For more information on applicable legislation, please visit the EASA website .  

European Aviation Safety Agency

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 now constitutes the centrepiece of the EU aviation safety system.

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, known as the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA), which ceased its activities in July 2009.

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 EU legislation in Member States and make the necessary recommendations to the Commission.

The EASA, rather than Member States, was also entrusted with the responsibility of issuing certificates. For instance, the EASA is entirely responsible for the certification of aircraft types and other aeronautical products. The EASA also issues certificates for organisations located in third countries. The national authorities of Member States however continue to issue, under EASA monitoring, individual certificates to aircraft and most organisations and personnel located in their territories. All certificates issued on the basis of EU law are valid in all EU Member States, which guarantees a uniform level of safety for the traveling public and a level playing field for operators.