Select Committee on Transport Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the British Business and General Aviation Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

  Recognising the time pressures on the oral evidence session, we felt the committee may not have been able to address questions regarding the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to our panel that had been put to previous panellists. We believe the inter-relationship between EASA and the CAA to be key, so we therefore submit our responses to those questions in note form.

We heard from the CAA that EASA is not yet fit for the purpose. Would you agree with that view? (Q267)

  EASA is a new body; it certainly has had problems in its development most notably with regards to the Fees and Charges Regulation that came into force last June to fund the work of the Agency's Certification Directorate. The Certification directorate is the only area in which EASA truly interacts with the industry. It issues certificates for new aircraft types, modifications to designs, repairs and issues approvals to organisations to allow them to work on aviation design issues. Whilst the Agency does issues some other approvals for non EU organisations, within the EU everything else is implemented at national level. The CAA, like other former National Aviation Authorities (NAA's), being designated as a Competent Authority, continues to issue all other licenses and approvals nationally, in accordance with the common EASA regulations and specifications. What has changed is that the CAA no longer makes policy and that EASA regulations are legally applicable. In the areas where EASA is simply making policy we believe it is doing at least as good a job as the JAA, and indications are it will pay far greater attention to developing proportional and appropriate regulations for General Aviation than JAA ever did.

  Returning to the Certification Department, we are in a transition period. Experts are being recruited by EASA as they leave the NAA's. Until EASA is fully staffed they are contracting Certification work back to the NAA's . This was a little unwieldy but acceptable until the point the Fees and Charges Regulation came into force. Not only are there bureaucratic problems with this regulation from an industry perspective but the commercial contracting arrangement between the NAA's and EASA is a nightmare. The commercial relationship between EASA and the CAA is actually not such an issue because the CAA are used to issuing invoices. Other NAA's have no idea how to invoice for their time. This means EASA is unsure of its expenditure until far too late. Add to this the fact that each NAA has differing commercial terms and the complexity of the system becomes apparent. What is clear is that trying to delay the development of EASA will actually prolong the difficulties. The sooner EASA has enough certification staff to do the work the better.

  So in summary EASA as a construct is fit for purpose, the current Fees and Charges regulation is most definitely not.

Do you believe the creation of EASA was a good idea in principle? (Q269)

  Yes, we believe that aviation is an international business and the harmonization and standardisation of safety regulation is good for business and General Aviation. We both represent members who use non airline aviation as an integral part of their transport requirements. Common standards across Europe will help this industry grow. And we feel will help bring all European states to a high and equivalent level of safety.

Could I follow that by saying that last week Sir Roy said to me in this Committee that my constituents, right next door to Heathrow, would be less safe in the future if something was not done about EASA. Can I ask all of you what would you do to make my constituents safer rather than at risk? (Q271/2)

  Firstly we do not believe EASA is putting people at risk today. To ensure EASA's success in the future we must endeavour to provide a stable and correct funding regime for the Agency. For all rulemaking and policy, this is dependant on central funding. Unfortunately the money member states were paying to JAA (in both funds and personnel) is not easily transferable to EASA. This is an area each member state needs to address within the EASA Management board. On the certification side, a revision to the Fees and Charges Regulation later year should help, provided EASA and the European Commission listen to the advice of those who will be paying the bills.

6 February 2006

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