Good news for General Aviation – Light at the end of the EASA tunnel

On 21/06/2012, in General Aviation, by steve

The French-led working group that aims to create a new world of light-touch regulation for European general aviation has produced a set of guiding principles for EASA which will be considered by the Agency’s Board of Management next week. Although the full details are confidential, the basic tenets are that there should be no regulation without a specific safety aim, and every new regulation should be tested with a full risk analysis and a cost-benefit study before it is imposed. The group wants EASA to move completely away from the ‘top-down’ concept of creating regulations for Commercial Air Transport then imposing them on GA, sometimes in a slightly watered-down form. It wants EASA to adopt the ICAO stance, which specifically states that authorities do not owe the same duty of care to GA participants as they do to paying customers of the airlines and uninvolved third parties.

The group is much more than a think-tank, and includes representatives of EASA and the European Commission, who have indicated that they go along with the consensus view. It was set up at the behest of EASA’s Board of Management following a presentation to the Board by IAOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson, who sits of the group together with AOPA Germany’s Managing Director Dr Michael Erb.

The general view is that Annex 6, part 1, of ICAO’s Chicago Convention covers general aviation regulation sufficiently well, and if EASA wishes to go beyond it, then it has to be addressing a demonstrated safety problem and its response should be proportionate to the risk and the cost. European states are signatories to the Convention whereas Europe as an entity is not, and the EC does not consider EASA to be bound by its provisions. The states, however, have relied on ICAO for guidance since the Second World War, and it has not been found wanting.

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