Examination of Witnesses (Questions 100-119)|
11 JANUARY 2006
Q100 Mr Leech: Yes.
Sir Roy McNulty: They have already
asked us to charge less and we have said we cannot.
Q101 Mr Leech: But can you foresee
a situation where you will be forced to do that?
Sir Roy McNulty: No.
Q102 Mr Goodwill: Would you say that
the United Kingdom made a mistake in signing up to this EASA system
as opposed to our own system which you have already said is second
to none and twice as safe as the United States'?
Sir Roy McNulty: No, but I think
you must remember, as I referred to earlier, that we have not
moved from a UK completely self-sufficient system to EASA. The
UK was already very much engaged in Europe with the Joint Aviation
Authorities which was a sort of club, if you will, which on a
voluntary basis agreed the rules which are applied here, and the
JAA handled the certification activities on a co-operative basis,
so a lot of aviation certification and rule-making has been done
in Europe for 20 years or more. We all thought, and I still believe,
that the JAA had had significant defects due to the voluntary
basis. It could not enforce the rules, so those countries that
did not like the rules just ignored them and it was not a very
efficient way to proceed, and I think the 1999 hearing that this
Committee had into aviation safety underlined that quite emphatically.
Therefore, EASA, which is a body which has the legal powers to
enforce, which has the ability to standardise and audit what is
going on in the Member States, and was intended to put together
the resources to handle the certification more efficiently, ought
to be a better solution. What nobody, I think, imagined was how
much difficulty they would have in getting the show up and running,
but none of the problems that they have is insoluble with proper
management, proper governance, proper planning and a proper way
of running the operation.
Q103 Chairman: But that is exactly
what they have not got.
Sir Roy McNulty: That has, I think,
been the problem, but I do not regard it as an insoluble problem.
I think if the Commission
Q104 Chairman: One can always pray
for better governance. It does not necessarily do a lot.
Sir Roy McNulty: Well, it has
been done and achieved in many organisations in the past and the
improvements follow quite quickly. This one urgently needs attention
in those areas.
Chairman: So if we have not got any other
hope, we have got God!
Q105 Mr Wilshire: I am going to amaze
myself, Chairman, by resisting the temptation to have a swipe
at the EU on this one, even though it is an easy target because
it is far too serious. What I am hearing is that the system is
slowing down, so certain things are not being done, some things
cannot be done because there are not the resources and the system
is not well governed and managed. What I want to hear from you
is: can you assure me that this change has no safety implications
whatsoever for my constituents living near Heathrow because what
I am hearing suggests that the safety is being compromised by
the problems you are listing and I should be going back to my
constituents and telling them that they are at greater risk tonight
than they were before I heard what you had to say?
Sir Roy McNulty: We certainly
are not aware of anything that should give your constituents cause
for concern today, but we know and this Committee has
Q106 Mr Wilshire: How about tomorrow?
Sir Roy McNulty: Tomorrow is certainly
okay, but if EASA was allowed, and I am sure it will not be allowed,
to continue along the course it is currently on, I think you could
predict some way down the road that safety problems will ensue
somewhere. If you have slowed down your rule-making, if you are
causing companies problems in getting modest, technical changes
processed, if you have not put in place the standardisation and
audit of all the regulatory regimes within the European Union,
you are asking for trouble some day. I should add though that
we are monitoring the implications and effects of all of this
in the UK quite carefully, and there is within the EASA regulation
the option for a country, where it sees an immediate safety problem,
to take immediate action itself and sort it out later with EASA.
If we saw a case of them doing something or something happening
as a result, we would take that emergency action.
Q107 Mr Wilshire: Would you tell
this Committee or tell Parliament that you had done so?
Sir Roy McNulty: If it is this
Committee's wish to be told, we will tell you.
Q108 Mr Wilshire: It would certainly
be this MP's wish. For the benefit of the record, can I be absolutely
clear that I have heard what I think I have heard and that is
that if something is not done about this problem, the safety of
my constituents at some stage in the future is going to be compromised?
Sir Roy McNulty: That is what
Q109 Chairman: Can I just ask you
whether it is correct that, when EASA was set up, you scrapped
several thousand additional requirements for import regulations?
Sir Roy McNulty: I can get you
a note of the exact number and 7,000 does not ring a bell, but
thousands is the case. The CAA had created a significant amount
of additional requirements, particularly for imported aircraft.
When EASA came into being, technically all of those were wiped
away, but we went through them very carefully and we came up with
a list of, I think, between 50 and 100 which we thought were absolutely
essential, and EASA has agreed to keep those, but all of the rest
have gone and we will get you the exact number.
Q110 Chairman: So what numbers are
we talking about? One witness said 4,000 UK regulations, somebody
else said 3,000 plus.
Sir Roy McNulty: Can I ask Mr
Bell for the exact numbers?
Q111 Chairman: Mr Bell, have you
abandoned 3,000 regulations and, if so, why?
Mr Bell: I am glad to get the
opportunity to answer this question because, like a lot of questions,
it is certainly not simple. At the onset of EASA
Q112 Chairman: Mr Bell, nothing in
connection with this Committee is simple!
Mr Bell: In 2002, we undertook
a review of all existing additional requirements for import and
additionally our directives which were extant at the time. What
we found was that a number of them, when we did an in-depth analysis,
had been replaced by manufacturing change and were no longer required.
We also lumped a number together into generic groups and then,
when EASA arrived and they were removed immediately by the regulation,
we replaced them using Article 10(1) of Regulation 1592 to ensure
that maintenance of these requirements in the UK continued until
the dialogue with EASA could take place. We did that
Q113 Chairman: Wait a minute. You
abandoned how many3,000, according to our witnesses? Is
Mr Bell: We brought this down
to a number of around 50 to 60.
Q114 Chairman: You looked at them
because they had been around for many years and you discovered
that many of them were not necessary anymore because of changes
Mr Bell: Correct.
Q115 Chairman: But you did not let
them go, you just said, We'll put them down in a different form"?
Mr Bell: We put them down in a
different form and held on to them until we had a dialogue with
EASA in each case and EASA has accepted all of the requirements
that we felt were essential and some of them, they decided on
a legal basis, were outside their jurisdiction, not being air-worthiness,
and we apply these by means of operational rules at the moment.
Some of these will be very familiar to you.
Q116 Chairman: So I think it is called,
Whatever you do, you're going to win". It is an admirable
Mr Bell: It is ensuring safety
is maintained in the transition and that was our key message throughout.
Q117 Chairman: Sir Roy, what about
transparency? How transparent are the changes? These are very
good publications with some very becoming pictures, but supposing
this Committee wanted a list of those changes which have come
about because of the creation of EASA and the impact on existing
rules, where would we find that?
Sir Roy McNulty: You could find
it by asking us.
Q118 Chairman: I am quite capable
of doing that, Sir Roy, but supposing I did not enjoy the helpful,
constructive and highly informative relationship that I have with
you, how would I find that?
Sir Roy McNulty: On the website.
Mr Bell: If you were a customer
or a person who is coming to us with an aircraft to register,
you would be able to gain that information directly from us.
Q119 Chairman: And it is quite clear
from the website exactly how you are moving away from your existing
series of regulations?
Mr Bell: No, the website