Further supplementary memorandum submitted
by the Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers
In addition to the letter sent earlier today
from J Eagles, ALAE Technical Committee Chairman, the Executive
Board of the ALAE would like to be advised as to which safeguards
are in place to counter the EASA driven lowering of standards
by the systematic weakening of the regulations.
It is becoming ever more apparent that the ability
of the UK CAA Safety Regulation Group to control airworthiness
issues in the UK is being hindered by the lack of attendance within
the corridors of EASA. Regulations are being carefully selected
and watered down to the lowest common denominator to better suit
the wishes of our European colleagues.
ALAE has been carefully following the hearings
of the Transport Select Committee in respect to the workings of
the UK CM and would just like to amplify the following areas which
we believe do require urgent attention.
The statement was made during the hearing that
safety would not be compromised today or tomorrow but possibly
in the future. ALAE would agree with this so long as we are only
considering the budget and management shortcomings. As long as
the operating regulations are not altered in any way, the above
shortcomings would of course require a significant amount of time
to filter through and eventually would impact safety. However,
the point that has not yet been addressed in the hearings is that
of the continuous degrading of the regulations and the reluctance
shown by EASA to forcefully implement EC regulation 2042. The
EASA rules are adopted unopposed by the UK CAA but despite this,
it must be made clear that the safety of the flying public is
being compromised. This is a state of affairs that is in contradiction
with statements made by the government that they will not allow
safety to be compromised. It is the opinion of ALAE that action
must be taken to stop the degradation in safety now, rather than
later. ALAE would prefer not to be proven right with an unfortunate
accident involving the UK flying public.
As an example of what we are referring to. The
UK CAA were informed, by ALAE, of significant differences of opinion
relating to the training of aircraft engineers. On raising the
issue the UK CAA stated and we quote:
The situation you describe is not acceptable
and I will be bringing it to the attention of the JAA and IBA
in due course. It is important that the principles of mutual recognition
of JAR-147 training are understood and applied by all. Deviation
from them will create the inequality to which you refer and also
a denial of mutual acceptability".
A few weeks later after being tipped off that
Europe was not interested in amending their application of the
rules, we confronted the UK CAA asking for the results of any
actions. We were informed that and we quote:
The CAA is satisfied that it applies the JAR-66
Type Training requirement in the manner it was designed. The issue
you raise relates to other States interpretations. The CAA is
not responsible for standardising each States compliance with
This scenario can already be applied to the
regulations as a whole and to imply that we are in a transitional
period is nonsense. EASA was formed because of exactly these problems.
JAA was a club and members were not complying with the rules.
EASA has been given an extremely weak legal infrastructure and
much of Europe is still ignoring or at best implementing the regulations
based on vague interpretations.
The result of this is that since day one of
EASA, many foreign aircraft have been certified as released to
service and have then entered UK airspace. Those same aircraft
would never have been allowed to depart airfields in the UK. It
is imperative that the UK Government is made aware of the fact
that Europe is operating parallel systems. It is all made possible
by the lack of UK involvement within EASA, a misguided belief
that the problems are transitional and a false belief that Euro
law is enforceable in its current state.
By this we refer to the ridiculous situation
regarding AMCs (Acceptable Means of Compliance). These AMC's are
known as soft regulations. They ensure that any one country can
pretty much do as they wish. An excellent example of this is the
AMO to rule 145.A.30(d).
AMC 145.A.30(d) Personnel requirements
1. Has sufficient staff means that the organisation
employs or contracts such staff of which at least half the staff
that perform maintenance in each workshop, hangar or flight line
on any shift should be employed to ensure organisational stability.
Contract staff, being part time or full time should be made aware
that when working for the organisation they are subjected to compliance
with the organisation's procedures specified in the maintenance
organisation exposition relevant to their duties. For the purpose
of this subparagraph, employed means the person is directly employed
as an individual by the maintenance organisation approved under
Part-145 whereas contracted means the person is employed by another
organisation and contracted by that organisation to the maintenance
organisation approved under Part-145.
An operator should ensure that 50% of its workforce
are permanent staff to ensure continuity. When pressing EASA about
the fact that there are operators using 80% contract staff we
were informed to our amazement that this was acceptable. So the
reality of the situation is that an operator can use any amount
of temporary staff as long as the scale remains somewhere between
0 and 100%. This kind of interpretation is applied by Europe to
all elements of EC regulation 2042.
The consequences of ignoring these problems
with EASA will ensure that the UK aviation industry, a world leading
industry will cease to exist. The UK will not be able to compete
long term in a market that ignores the agreed regulations in order
to save money. The lowering of standards will creep into the UK
like a cancer as Europe forces its will onto the system; a system
which, at its inception, was supposed to be to the highest standard.
ALAE warned of ending up with the lowest common denominator and
the passing of time has shown that we are well on our way to achieving
that sad goal.
21 February 2006