Commercial aviation

Aircrew regulation , Air operations (OPS)Approval of flight crew licensing organisations (TRTO, FTO, R/F), Safety assessment of foreign aircraft (SAFA)Authorisation of third country operators (TCO)

Interesting mostly for aviation professionals engaged in commercial air transport operations (CAT) national aviation & oversight authorities.

Aircrew

Aircrew

The provisions of the Regulation on Aircrew are published in several documents: Implementing Rules (published in the Official Journal of the European Union) and associated Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC), Guidance Material (GM) and Certification Specifications (published on the Agency website).

Commission Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011 of 3 November 2011 laying down technical requirements and administrative procedures related to civil aviation aircrew was published on 25 November in the Official Journal of the European Union. It contains:

  • The Aircrew Regulation opens with the Cover Regulation, describing the requirements for:
    • the subject matter,
    • definitions,
    • pilot licensing and medical certification,
    • existing national pilots’ licences,
    • conversion of flight test qualifications,
    • existing national flight engineers’ licences,
    • conditions for the acceptance of licences from third countries,
    • credit for training commenced prior to the application of this Regulation,
    • credit for pilot licences obtained during military service,
    • cabin crew medical fitness and
    • entry into force and application.
  • Annex I Part-FCL
  • Annex II Conditions for the conversion of existing national licences and ratings for aeroplanes and helicopters
  • Annex III Conditions for the acceptance of licences issued by or on behalf of third countries
  • Annex IV Part-MED

The Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM) to Part-FCL and Part-MED were adopted by the Agency and published on the Agency’s webpage in December 2011. (ED Decision 2011/016/R AMC and GM Part-FCL and ED Decision 2011/015/R AMC and GM Part-MED).

The remaining annexes were published in the amending Commission Regulation (EU) No 290/2012, containing the requirements for the qualification of cabin crew, authority requirements for aircrew and organisation requirements for aircrew:

  • Annex V Part Cabin Crew
  • Annex VI Part-ARA (authority requirements for aircrew)
  • Annex VII Part-ORA (organisation requirements for aircrew)

The Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material to these annexes were adopted by the Agency and published on the Agency’s website in April 2012: ED Decision 2012/005/R (GM to Part-CC), ED Decision 2012/006/R (AMC and GM to Part-ARA) and ED Decision 2012/007/R (AMC and GM to Part-ORA).

In addition, Certification Specifications for flight simulation training devices (FSTDs) applicable to organisations operating FSTDs and seeking initial qualification of FSTDs are available:

  • CS-FSTD(A) published as Decision 2012/010/R on 4 July 2012
  • CS-FSTD(H) published as Decision 2012/011/R on 4 July 2012

In relation to examiner standardisation the Agency has the obligation, in accordance with ARA.FCL.210 in Commission regulation (EU) No 1178/2011 as amended, to collect and disseminate the applicable Member State (MS) national procedures relating to the conduct of skill tests, proficiency checks or assessments of competence.  An examiner must review and apply the MS-specific procedures of  the applicant’s licencing authority if this authority is not the same as the one that issued the examiner’s certificate. The Agency has developed the so-called Examiners Differences Document (EDD) which is to be used by examiners for this purpose. The EDD can be downloaded from the download box located at the top of this page. The Agency intends to revise the document on a quarterly basis. Please ensure you always have the latest revision.

Further information on the Regulation on Aircrew can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Regulation on Aircrew - Implementation

The provisions of the Regulation on Aircrew are published in several documents: Implementing Rules (published in the Official Journal of the European Union) and associated Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC), Guidance Material (GM) and Certification Specifications (published on the Agency website).

When do the new rules become applicable?

  • The new Regulation on Aircrew, covering pilot training and checking, medical aspects, initial training for cabin crew and requirements for authorities and organisations is applicable since 8 April 2012. However, it provides EASA Member States the flexibility to defer the date when the new Regulation applies, via derogations. Further information on the dates at which the rules will apply for each Member State is available here.

What format now applies to licences, ratings and certificates?

  • Under the new rules, EASA Member States continue to issue licences, ratings and certificates. Therefore, any questions regarding your licence, ratings and certificates should be addressed to the NAA that issued them (contact details are available here).
  • During the transition phase into the new Aircrew rules, mutual recognition of certificates and licences issued in ‘old’ formats continues. Further information is available here.

Further information

Please consult the FAQs. In addition:

  • Pilots: For questions related to your licence, certificate or rating, please contact the NAA that issued it.
  • Cabin crew: For questions related to your cabin crew attestation and assessment of medical fitness, please contact the NAA of the country of your operator or, if you are unemployed, the NAA of your residence country.
  • Training organisations and aero-medical centres:
    • located in the EU - please consult your NAA
    • located in a third country - further information is available here.
  • National aviation authorities
    • The Agency provides training on the Aircrew and Air Operations regulations (and on other regulations). Further information is available here.
    • NAAs are required to notify the Agency of alternative means of compliance approved within their State. Further information is available here.
    • Member States have the flexibility to derogate from the Implementing Rules of the Basic Regulation (as set out in Article 14 of the Basic Regulation - Regulation (EC) No 216/2008). Further information is available here.

Downloads

Air Operations

Air Operations

The provisions of the Regulation on Air Operations are published in several documents: Implementing Rules (published in the Official Journal of the European Union as Commission Regulation and subsequent amending regulations) and associated Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC), Guidance Material (GM) and Certification Specifications (published on the Agency website as Decisions).

The Regulation on Air Operations is amended to include provisions for commercial air operations with sailplanes and balloons, for non-commercial operations with aeroplanes, helicopters, sailplanes and balloons and for specialised operations (e.g. aerial work).

Further information on the draft and final requirements can be found in the Explanatory Notes accompanying those documents on the Agency website and in our Frequently Asked Questions.

  • Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on Air Operations was adopted by the European Commission on 05/10/2012 and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 25/10/2012. It covers commercial air transport operations with aeroplanes and helicopters.
     
  • Regulation (EU) 800/2013 amending Regulation (EU) 965/2012 on Air Operations was adopted by the European Commission on 14/08/2013 and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 24/08/2013. It covers non-commercial operations with aeroplanes, helicopters, balloons and sailplanes (in Annex VI Part-NCC on complex motor-powered aircraft and Annex VII Part-NCO on other-than-complex motor-powered aircraft) and it also includes the consequent changes to the previous Annexes I to V.
    The Regulations entered into force and became applicable on 28/10/2012 and respectively on 25/08/2013. Nevertheless, Member States have the flexibility to postpone the applicability of the rule by up to 2 or 3 years, depending on the applicable Part or Subpart. Find more information about opt-out on the Implementation below.
     
  • Regulation (EU) No 83/2014 on Air Operations was adopted by the European Commission on 29/01/2014 and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 31/01/2014. It covers flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements for CAT operations with aeroplanes.
    The Regulation enters into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Regulation foresees transition measures in the form of an application date two years after its entry into force.
    The Regulation does not apply to:
    • air taxi, emergency medical service and single pilot CAT operations by aeroplane, which continue to be subject to Article 8(4) of Regulation (EEC) No 39/22/91 and Subpart Q of Annex III to Regulation (EEC) No 39/22/91 and to related national exemptions based on safety risk assessments carried out by the competent authority; and
    • CAT operations with helicopters, which shall comply with national requirements.

      EASA published the associated Decisions containing the Certifications Specifications (CS), Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM) on the same day on the EASA website:

    • ED Decision 2014/002/R on CS-FTL.1 CAT operations by aeroplane - scheduled and charter operations
    • ED Decision 2014/003/R on AMC and GM to Part-ORO (Subpart FTL)
      EASA has prepared a Q&A document with further detailed information regarding the new European Fatigue Management Regulation.
       
  • Regulation (EU) No 379/2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on Air Operations was adopted by the European Commission on 7 April 2014 and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 24/04/2014. It includes the technical requirements for commercial specialised air operations with aeroplanes, helicopters, sailplanes and balloons and non-commercial specialised air operations with complex aeroplanes and complex helicopters.
    This new Regulation completes the Air Operations (Air OPS) regulatory package as Annex VIII Part-SPO and amends the other Annexes of Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 with new provisions for CAT operations with balloons and sailplanes and CAT operations starting and ending at the same aerodrome with smaller aeroplanes/helicopters. Regulation (EU) No 379/2014 shall apply from 1 July 2014. The transition period in the form of an opt-out will last until 21 April 2017.

EASA published the associated Decisions containing the Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM) on the EASA website.

More details on the regulations page, including links to the EASA AMC and GM.

Diagrams illustrating the rule structure are available here

Note on transition

The European Commission has prepared a revised ‘note on transition’ describing the mechanisms that should be applied by Member States and the Agency during the transition from former EU-OPS/JAR-OPS 3 or national rules to the new OPS implementing rules. While the note covered initially commercial air transport operations with aeroplanes and helicopters only, it is now extended to also include the new Regulations on flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements for commercial air transport by aeroplane, on non-commercial operations and the future regulation on specialised operations. The implementation of the new rules falls under the responsibility of the Member States. The note is not binding on the Member States and it is the responsibility of the Member States to communicate to their operators how they plan to master the transition phase. Further questions concerning the transition should be directed to the responsible national authority.

The note does not constitute any legal opinion or commitment of the Commission or the Agency. Consequently it should not be relied upon as a statement, as any form of warranty, representation, undertaking, or other commitment binding in law upon the European Aviation Safety Agency. EASA shall not be liable for any kind of damages or other claims or demands incurred as a result of incorrect, insufficient or invalid information contained in the note, or arising out of or in connection with the use of the information, to the extent permitted by European and National laws. This disclaimer is not intended to limit the liability of EASA in contravention of any requirements laid down in applicable national law or to exclude its liability for matters which may not be excluded under that law.


Implementation

Opt-out to Regulation (EU) 965/2012 on Air Operations as amended by Regulation (EU) 800/2013

  • Regulation (EU) 965/2012 on Air Operations as amended by Regulation (EU) 800/2013, covering commercial and non-commercial air operations and associated requirements for authorities and organisations, is applicable since 28 October 2012 for commercial operations and respectively since 25 August 2013 for non-commercial operations. However, it provides EASA Member States with the flexibility to postpone the applicability of the new Regulation. The 'opt-out' can be considered as a form of transition measure applicable to Member States. If Member States decide to delay the date of applicability of the new regulation, they will have to notify the European Commission and the Agency of the ‘opt-out’, describing the reasons for their decision and the programme for implementation.
  • Articles 10.2 and 10.3 of the Cover Regulation allow for a general opt-out as follows:
    • from Annexes I to V to commercial air operations until 28 October 2014;
    • from Annex III to non-commercial operations with complex motor-powered aeroplanes and helicopters until 25 August 2016; and
    • from Annexes V, VI and VII to non-commercial operations with aeroplanes, helicopters, sailplanes and balloons until 25 August 2016.
  • This flexibility is available to parts of or the whole Regulation. Until that date, EU-OPS and national rules implementing JAR-OPS 3 continue to apply.
  • Further information on the dates at which the rules will apply for each Member State is available here.
  • The new Regulation on Air Operations will in the future be amended to include provisions for commercial air transport operations with sailplanes and balloons and for specialised operations (e.g. aerial work).

I hold an AOC – do I have to do anything now?

Under the new rules, EASA Member States continue to issue certificates and associated approvals, conditions and limitations.

  • Operating with aeroplanes
    • There is provision to recognise an AOC issued in according with EU-OPS as being valid according to the new regulation. Any questions regarding your certificate should be addressed to the NAA that issued it (contact details are available here). Further information is available in the Commission’s Note on Transition.
  • Operating with helicopters
    • A ‘grandfathering’ provision is not available: new AOCs and associated approvals, conditions and limitations will need to be issued prior to the date when the new regulation becomes applicable in your State. Any questions regarding your certificate should be addressed to the NAA that issued it (contact details are available here). Further information is available in the Commission’s Note on Transition.

How different from EU-OPS and JAR-OPS 3 are the new rules?

The Agency has compiled a table comparing the new Regulation on Air Operations with the provisions of EU-OPS and JAR-OPS 3 (amendment 5). It is available here. The table:

  • Provides a cross-reference between the new Regulation on Air Operations with EU-OPS and JAR-OPS 3 (both the rules in ‘Section 1’ and the ACJ/AMC/IEM of ‘Section 2’).
  • Indicates for each rule, ACJ, AMC, IEM related to EU-OPS and JAR-OPS 3 whether the provisions are transposed without introducing a content change, if they are amended, or if they are not transposed. For each entry where some change is introduced, a short explanation on the difference is provided. For new rules not originating from EU-OPS or JAR-OPS3, a short explanation is provided.
  • Is provided for information purposes only. The Agency intends to update this table and welcomes feedback from stakeholders via email to air_ops [at] easa [dot] europa [dot] eu

Further information

Please consult the FAQs. In addition:

  • Operators: For questions related to your certificate or approvals listed under the OPSPECS, please contact the NAA that issued it.
  • National /aviation authorities
  • The Agency provides training on the Aircrew and Air Operations regulations (and on other regulations). Further information is available here.
  • NAAs are required to notify the Agency of alternative means of compliance approved within their State. Further information is available here.
  • Member States have the flexibility to derogate from the Implementing Rules of the Basic Regulation (as set out in Article 14 of the Basic Regulation - Regulation (EC) No 216/2008). Further information is available here.
See Also: 
Air Operations - Structure

Air Operations - Structure

The new Regulation on Air Operations will be published in stages. It will contain eight annexes. Diagrams illustrating the contents of the Annexes are available via the regulations page.

Part-ARO – Authority Requirements for Air Operations

Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material to Annex II Part-ARO are published with ED Decision 2012/016/R

Part-ORO – Organisation Requirements for Air Operations

Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material to Annex III Part-ORO are published with ED Decision 2012/017/R

Part-CAT – Commercial Air Transport Operations


* Note that Regulation 965/2012 contains the requirements for CAT operations with aeroplanes and helicopters. Opinion 03/2012 contains the draft requirements for CAT operations with sailplanes and balloons and for A-A flights.

Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material to Annex IV Part-CAT are published with ED Decision 2012/018/R

Part-SPA – Operations Requiring Specific Approvals

Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material to Annex V Part-SPA are published with ED Decision 2012/019/R

Part-NCC – Non-Commercial Operations with Complex Motor-Powered Aircraft

 

Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material to Annex VI Part-NCC are published with ED Decision 2013/021/R.

* Complex motor-powered aircraft are defined in Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 216/2008:
‘complex motor-powered aircraft’ shall mean:

(i) an aeroplane:

  • with a maximum certificated take-off mass exceeding 5 700 kg, or
  • certificated for a maximum passenger seating configuration of more than nineteen, or
  • certificated for operation with a minimum crew of at least two pilots, or
  • equipped with (a) turbojet engine(s) or more than one turboprop engine, or

(ii) a helicopter certificated:

  • for a maximum take-off mass exceeding 3 175 kg, or
  • for a maximum passenger seating configuration of more than nine, or
  • for operation with a minimum crew of at least two pilots,

or

(iii) a tilt rotor aircraft.

Part-NCO – Non-Commercial Operations with Other-Than-Complex Motor-Powered Aircraft

Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material to Annex V Part-NCO are published with ED Decision 2014/016/R. This is a consolidated version.

Part-SPO – Specialised Operations

Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material to Annex V Part-SPO are published with ED Decision 2014/018/R.

16017
FCL Organisations Approvals

FCL Organisations Approvals

The Agency has been given a number of new tasks with regard to Pilot Training Organisations (PTOs) and Aero-Medical Centres (AeMCs) located outside the territory of the Member States (ref. Basic Regulation Articles 7 and 21).

In particular the Agency shall:

  • Conduct, itself or through National Aviation Authorities or Qualified Entities, investigations and audits of the organisations it certifies;
  • Issue and renew the certificates of Pilot Training Organisations and Aero-Medical Centres located outside the territory of the Member States and, where relevant, their personnel;
  • Amend, limit, suspend or revoke the relevant certificate when the conditions according to which it was issued by it are no longer fulfilled, or if the legal or natural person holding the certificate fails to fulfil the obligations imposed on it by this Regulation or its implementing rules.

The EASA Flight Crew Licencing Organisation Approval (FCLOA) Section is responsible for:

  1. The management of all applications for approval of Pilot Training Organisations and Aero-Medical Centres for which the Agency is the competent authority in accordance with Article 21(1)(b) of the Basic Regulation;
  2. the tasks related to their certification and continued surveillance.

Relevant legislation

Structure

Additional information about the regulation can be found in the Aircrew Regulation FAQ .


Application forms

All available application forms for an EASA approval can be found in the Application Forms page The application forms for Pilot Training Organisations (PTOs) and Aero-Medical Centres (AeMCs) can also be found under “Downloads” on the right of this page.

If your organisation is ready to apply for an EASA approval, please proceed as explained in the guidance material provided for applicants.

This Application and the additional document should be sent by fax, e-mail or regular mail to the Agency as indicated in the form.

Please do not sent the application in a different way as this may delay its processing.


Fees & Charges

In accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) 319/2014, the Agency levies fees and charges for all its certification and approvals activities.

For more information, please refer to the above-mentioned Fees & Charges Regulation or consult the Fees & Charges page.


Contacts for FCL Organisations Approvals

Queries related to Pilot Training Organisations and Aero-Medical Centres under Part ORA of Aircrew Regulation should be addressed to fcloa [at] easa [dot] europa [dot] eu.

Letters and paper documents/records should be sent to:

European Aviation Safety Agency
ATO & AeMC Section
P.O. Box 10 12 53
D-50452 Cologne, Germany

Only questions related to the implementation of Aircrew Regulation as regards organisations for which the Agency is the Competent Authority in accordance with Article 21(1)(b) of the Basic Regulation will be answered through this contact point.

Safety Assessment Of Foreign Aircraft

Safety Assessment Of Foreign Aircraft (EC SAFA Programme)

Introduction

This section explains the European Community Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) programme established by the European Commission (EC) and the role and responsibilities the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has in it.

International Requirements

International civil aviation is governed by the Convention on International Civil Aviation (commonly known as the Chicago Convention). Under this Convention, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a specialised agency of the United Nations, sets the minimum Standards and Recommended Practices for international civil aviation. These standards are contained in 18 Annexes to the Convention. Individual States remain responsible for regulating their aviation industries but have to take into account the requirements of the Convention and the minimum standards established by ICAO.

The main standards that apply to airlines are in three of the 18 Annexes.

  • Annex 1 deals with personnel licensing including flight crew
  • Annex 6 deals with the operation of aircraft
  • Annex 8 deals with airworthiness.

The responsibility for implementing Annexes 1 and 8 rests with the State of Registry, that is the State in which the aircraft is registered. The responsibility for implementing Annex 6 rests with the State of Operator, the State in which the airline is based. Often the State of Operator and the State of Registry will be the same, as airlines tend to operate aircraft registered in the State in which they are based.

Significant increases in the volume of air travel over the last decades or so have made it more of a burden for many States to oversee their airlines in compliance with the Chicago Convention. To maintain confidence in the system, and to protect the interest of the European citizens who may be living in the vicinity of airports or travelling onboard a third-country aircraft, the Community identified the need to effectively enforce international safety standards within the Community. This is done through the execution of ramp inspections on third-country aircraft landing at the airports located in the Member States. The official definition of 'third-country aircraft' is an aircraft which is not used or operated under the control of a competent authority of a Community Member State.

What is the EC SAFA Programme ?

The principles of the programme are simple: in each EU Member State and those States who have entered into a specific 'SAFA' Working Arrangement with EASA (*), third country aircraft may be inspected. These inspections follow a procedure common to all Member States and are then reported on using a common format. If an inspection identifies significant irregularities, these will be taken up with the airline and the oversight authority. Where irregularities have an immediate impact on safety, inspectors can demand corrective action before they allow the aircraft to leave.

(*) The 46 Member States engaged in the EC SAFA Programme are: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arabic, Emirates United Kingdom.

All reported data is stored centrally in a computerized database set up by EASA. The database also holds supplementary information, such as lists of actions carried out following inspections. The information held within this database is reviewed and analyzed by EASA on a regular basis. The European Commission and Member States are informed of any potentially safety hazards identified. On behalf of and in close cooperation with the European Commission EASA will develop qualitative criteria with the aim to achieve a more focussed approach regarding the SAFA inspection priorities.

Although there is a legal obligation to perform inspections on third country aircraft, there is no objection that Member States inspect airlines from other Member States engaged in the EC SAFA Programme.

It has to be stressed that SAFA inspections are limited to on-the-spot assessments and cannot substitute for proper regulatory oversight. Ramp inspections serve as pointers, but they cannot guarantee the airworthiness of a particular aircraft.

How is it organised and who are the main stakeholders ?

In the EC SAFA Programme there are many stakeholders participating: the European Commission (EC), EASA, the Member States and Eurocontrol. They come together regularly in the Air Safety Committee meetings (ASC) and the European SAFA Steering expert Group (ESSG) meetings.

The European Commission carries overall responsibility and has the legislative powers. EASA is responsible for some specific executive tasks as specified in Commission Regulation (EC) No 768/2006 (regarding the collection and exchange of information on the safety of aircraft using Community airports and the management of the information system). The specified role and responsibilities of EASA in the EC SAFA Programme are:

  • collect by means of a centralised database the inspection reports of the Member States engaged in the EC SAFA Programme;
  • maintain and further develop the centralised database;
  • analyse all relevant information concerning the safety of aircraft and its operators;
  • report potential aviation safety problems to European Commission and the Member States;
  • advise the European Commission and the Member States on follow-up actions;
  • advise on the future development and strategy of the EC SAFA Programme;
  • develop SAFA procedures;
  • develop training programmes and foster its organisation and implementation;

Based upon its technical expertise EASA supports the EC with the implementation of the EC SAFA programme in the Community and as such ensuring that appropriate follow-up measures are initiated based upon the SAFA inspection that have been performed.

The Member States that are engaged in the EC SAFA programme (being either an EU Member State or a non-EU ECAC Member State who have entered into a Working Arrangement with EASA) are obliged to perform SAFA Ramp Checks on the aircraft of third country operators flying into their state. And, when needed, take appropriate corrective measures in addition to disseminate the results of these inspections to other participants in the EC SAFA programme.

The Eurocontrol organisation provides Flight Plan information to the Member States, the EC and EASA regarding aircraft subject to an operational measure such as a banning.

In the Air Safety Committee (ASC) the EU Member States are represented having an (legislative) advisory role regarding in particular through performance of the following tasks:

  • assist the European Commission with the adoption of harmonised implementation measures in order to enhance the effectiveness of the EC SAFA programme such as the approval of SAFA procedures;
  • assist the European Commission with decisions related to corrective measures taken in respect of specific operators or operators of a specific third country (Community List).

In the European SAFA Steering expert Group (ESSG) the non-EU ECAC Member States engaged in the EC SAFA Programme together with the EU Member States are represented having an (technical) advisory role regarding in particular through performance of the following tasks:

  • Assisting the European Commission (in a consultative role) in relation to proposals from EASA prior to their submission to the ASC, regarding the overall safety oversight policy of the EC SAFA programme, possible actions to be taken in specific safety cases and recommendations for the further development of the SAFA programme, including the amendment of SAFA procedures;
  • Communicating to the Commission feedback upon the national implementation of the SAFA programme in their State;
  • Reviewing and reacting upon the SAFA Database analysis which EASA is required to conduct on a frequent basis.

Which aircraft and operators are checked and how often ?

Oversight authorities of the Member States engaged in the EC SAFA Programme choose which aircraft to inspect. Some authorities carry out random inspections while others try to target aircraft or airlines that they suspect may not comply with ICAO standards. In either case only a very small proportion of third country aircraft operating into each State are inspected.

Depending on the volume of third country flights and the availability of inspectors in each Member State, the number of inspections may vary from relatively few to several hundred each year.

What is checked ?

Checks may include

  • licences of the pilots;
  • procedures and manuals that should be carried in the cockpit;
  • compliance with these procedures by flight and cabin crew;
  • safety equipment in cockpit and cabin;
  • cargo carried in the aircraft; and
  • the technical condition of the aircraft.

How are checks performed ?

A checklist of 54 inspection items is used during a SAFA Ramp Check. As the time between arrival and departure (the turn-around time) may not be sufficient to go through the full checklist, not all 54 items may be inspected. It is SAFA policy not to delay an aircraft except for safety reasons.

Since the programme began in 1996 as a voluntary ECAC programme, the Member States have performed some 37,000 SAFA inspections (status February 2007).

Results

Obviously any major findings will immediately be communicated to all concerned parties. In cases of more serious findings, the oversight authority of the Member State that performed the ramp check will contact its counterpart in the State responsible for the airline, passing on its findings and asking for any necessary corrective actions. The oversight authority will also inform the aircraft's captain and the headquarters of the airline.

When findings directly affect the safety of the aircraft, its crew and passengers, the Authority of the State of inspection may request immediate corrective action before the aircraft can take off. If rectification of the deficiencies requires more time or needs to be performed at another airport, the Authority of the State of inspection may, in coordination with the State responsible for the operation of the aircraft concerned or the State of registration of the aircraft, decide to authorise a positioning flight (a flight to a specific destination without passengers or cargo onboard) and also prescribe the necessary conditions under which the aircraft can be allowed to fly to that specific airport.
In general all inspection results need to be communicated by the State which performed the inspections to the other EU Member States and to the European Commission.

Whenever an inspection shows the existence of a potential safety threat, or shows that an aircraft does not comply with international safety standards and may pose a potential safety threat, the inspection report will need to be communicated without delay to each EU Member State and the European Commission. In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 (establishment of a Community list of air carriers subject to an operating ban within the Community) and based upon various other sources of information, the European Commission may decide upon an operating ban in the Community. Further details can be found on the EC website.


Europe's centralised SAFA ramp inspection report database

All states participating in the European SAFA ramp inspection programme are required to exchange the reports with the other states, with the European Commission and with EASA. This exchange is done through a centralised database hosted by EASA. Each participating state can enter the inspection details into this database via a web-based application and can retrieve ramp inspection reports via the same application. Currently, the database contains over 100.000 ramp inspections; each year some 10.000 reports are added.

Since September 2011, Operators and their National Aviation Authorities (NAAs) can register online to that database; obviously, the access is limited to ramp inspection reports on their own aircraft. Since the user management is delegated to the local aviation authorities, these authorities need to have obtained access to the database before the operators can register themselves. Once the operator and/or the NAA has access, any follow-up information on the inspection can be uploaded to the database; this lowers the burden of the administrative workload considerably. At the beginning of 2013, a total of 2200 users coming from 79 NAAs and 714 operators obtained access.

Details on the register process can be found in the FAQ document available at the login page of the SAFA database. Any questions related to the database access should be addressed to the local authorities; the contact details for SAFA Database coordinators  within those aviation authorities having access to the SAFA database can be found in the coordinators list in the next paragraph.


SAFA Coordinators

Operators having any questions regarding a ramp inspection they have been subject to, should contact the inspecting authority; the contact details should be mentioned on the copy the Proof of Inspection form handed over to the flight crew after the inspection. In addition, you will find below a list of contacts within the SAFA participating states.

Any questions regarding the access to the SAFA database can be addressed to the same contacts. The second chapter in this list contains for that reason a list of SAFA Database coordinators (see SAFA national coordinators & database coordinators in the Download box) for the “guest authorities”, which are those authorities not participating in the programme but having access to the database.


Applicable SAFA legislation

  • Directive 2004/36/CE
    This Directive was adopted whereby international safety standards will be enforced within the Community by means of ramp inspections on third-country aircraft landing at airports located in the Member States (the so-called "SAFA Directive").

    This "SAFA Directive", provides a legal requirement for EU Member States to perform inspections and as such participate in the EC SAFA programme. The Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 provides a provision for a decision making process whereby an airline may be banned from European airspace for safety reasons. Those airlines will then appear on a list, the so-called "Community list".

  • Commission Directive 2008/49/EC 
    Article 2 of this Directive required EASA to develop the Guidance Material to be applied by the Member States. By means of ED Decisions, the Guidance Material for the Qualification of Inspectors and for SAFA Ramp Inspections were adopted.


Aggregated reports

The Commission Regulation (EC) No 768/2006 puts an obligation on EASA to prepare for the Commission on a yearly basis a proposal for a public aggregated information report regarding the information collected from the Member States in accordance with the Directive 2004/36/EC.The aggregated report is published by the European Commission in all European languages.

2011-2012

The 2011-2012 SAFA report covers inspection results of the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2012

2010

The 2010 SAFA report covers inspection results of the period 1 January - 31 December 2010.

 

2009

The 2009 SAFA report covers inspection results of the period 1 January - 31 December 2009.

 

2008

The 2008 SAFA report covers inspection results of the period 1 January - 31 December 2008.

 

2007

The 2007 SAFA report covers inspection results of the period 1 January - 31 December 2007.

 

2006

Since the SAFA Directive became applicable as of 30th of April 2006 the first published aggregated report covers the period 30th April 2006 - 31st December 2006.

 

Working arrangements

Commission Regulation (EC) No 768/2006 requires EASA to perform certain specific management tasks related to the EC SAFA Programme. In addition this Commission Regulation puts some obligations on EU Member States. For those non-EU ECAC Member States who wanted to continue participating in the EC SAFA Programme and who were previously participating in the voluntary ECAC SAFA Programme a dedicated Working Arrangement was signed between the State concerned and EASA. Following States have signed the Working Arrangement:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Iceland
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • Norway
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Arabic Emirates
  • Ukraine
  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

International

Working Arrangements between EASA and several Civil Aviation Authorities of ECAC-non-EU Member States on collection and exchange of information on the safety of aircraft using community airports and the airports of the relevant country.


Historical overview

In 1996 ECAC launched the voluntary SAFA programme. ECAC Member States participating in the programme were requested to perform SAFA Ramp Checks on foreign operators flying into their territory. The operational management of the SAFA programme was performed by the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA), the associated body of ECAC.

Each year ECAC published a public report containing an overview of the major milestones of the programme. They may be downloaded below.

ECAC Programme for Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft Programme - CEAC d' Évaluation de la Sécurité des Aéronefs Étrangers

TCO - Third Country Operators

TCO - Third Country Operators

EU safety authorisations for foreign air operators – PART-TCO


One single safety authorisation valid in 32 EASA Member States

Europe centralises the process to authorise third-country (non-EU) operators performing commercial air transport operations into the EU, thereby replacing various schemes of the 32 EASA Member States currently in place. Instead, a single safety authorisation will be issued centrally by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) under the new Implementing Rule (Part-TCO) as of 26 May 2014. The TCO application form can be found here.

Background

Foreign airlines’ surveillance is an ICAO Standard and already implemented for many years in several other countries, such as e.g., the United States, Canada, Australia, China and several EU member states. In 2008, the European Parliament and the European Council tasked EASA to establish a single European system for vetting the safety performance of foreign air carriers, thereby simplifying and lessening the administrative burden faced by operators from third countries. In doing so, EASA will issue safety authorisations to foreign air carriers when satisfied that they comply with ICAO standards.

The adoption of the Implementing Rules for third-country air operators marks the end of a comprehensive Rulemaking procedure with participation from EASA Member States, third country authorities, trade associations, air operators and other commentators.

Applicability of Part-TCO

Any third-country operator who intends to perform commercial air transport (CAT) operations into, within or out of any of the following territories requires an authorisation issued by the Agency under Part-TCO:

  • the 28 Member States of the European Union
  • the 4 EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland)
  • the following territories in which Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 , the so called “Basic Regulation” applies: Gibraltar, Åland Islands, Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion, Saint-Martin, Mayotte

A TCO authorisation will not be required for operators only overflying the abovementioned territories without intended landing.

Risk-based approach

EASA will employ a risk-based model to determine the appropriate assessment methodology to be applied in each authorisation process. A pre-defined set of credible internal and external data sources will be continuously analysed to keep the model up-to-date. As a rule of thumb: the lower EASA’s certainty about the applicant’s reliability or the less credible data available for an applicant operator or the State of the Operator, the higher will be the assessment category which corresponds to the level of scrutiny applied during the assessment. As an example, for an operator with high confidence level, a simple desktop review (fast track) will suffice, whereas for an operator with a low confidence level EASA would invite the applicant operator to Cologne for a technical meeting.

Authorisation process

The European approach to the authorisation of third country operators will essentially consist of a validation of the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) issued to a foreign air operator by its State’s competent aviation authority. EASA will validate the foreign AOC by issuing an EASA TCO Authorisation document accompanied by Technical Specifications, setting out the scope of operations authorised in the EU. The issuance of an authorisation will be subject to EASA’s level of confidence in the foreign AOC, as determined by the competence of its holder to discharge its responsibilities and the safety oversight capability of the certifying State. Assessment criteria are ICAO Standards applicable to air operators. Authorisations issued under Part-TCO will not be subject to fees.

The TCO authorisation process will consist of four distinct phases: Application, Evaluation, Authorisation and Monitoring. A dedicated web-interface will support all communications on-line between EASA and the applicant.

Transitional measures

A 30-month transition period ensures smooth implementation of Part-TCO without interrupting international air operations of foreign air carriers to the EU. With Part-TCO in force, air carriers that previously operated to the EU can continue to do so, but must submit to EASA an application for TCO authorisation within the first six (6) months of the applicability date of  Part-TCO. This period ends on 26 November 2014.
EASA will determine, for each applicant, the time when that TCO assessment will be commenced within the transition period. Only for applications received within the 6-month application period can EASA guarantee that the applicant operator is included in the sequence and the operation to the EU can be continued without interruption after the end of the transition period. It is therefore in the very interest of all foreign operators to apply for a TCO authorisation before 26 November 2014 at the latest.

Operators who do not currently hold an operating permit issued by a Member State shall, during the transition period, apply with the responsible national authorities of the EASA Member State(s) for the necessary operating permit(s) as usual. At the same time the applicant should file an application for TCO authorisation with EASA.

The European "Safety List" mechanism

The European Safety List mechanism pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 is governed by the European Commission in Brussels. EASA and the European Commission ensure that both instruments are closely coordinated, involving also the European Member States. Operators subject to a ban or operating restriction in the EU Safety List are eligible to apply with EASA for an assessment under Part-TCO. Note: More detailed information about the interaction of the EU Air Safety List and TCO is available in the “ Frequently Asked Questions ” section.

Further information

A section containing “ Frequently Asked Questions ” and additional information is available to stakeholders.

TCO Regulation

Commission Regulation (EU) No. 452/2014 laying down technical requirements and administrative procedures related to air operations of third country operators was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 6 May 2014. Annex 1 (Part-TCO) contains the requirements for the operator, while the authority requirements regarding the authorisation of foreign operators are laid down in Annex 2 (Part-ART) .

EASA has published associated Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM). This document is available in the document library (Part-TCO/ AMC/GM) of our website.

How third-country operators should apply for their TCO Authorisation

  1. Study the Commission Regulation (EU) No. 452/2014 and AMC/Guidance Material.
  2. Appoint a focal point for TCO Authorisation in your organisation.
  3. Subscribe to TCO “Latest news” to stay abreast latest developments.
  4. Visit the Agency’s TCO website periodically for updates and answers to frequently asked questions.
  5. If your operation is subject to Part-TCO, download the application form and apply for a TCO authorisation
  6. Address questions to TCO [at] easa [dot] europa [dot] eu
TCO - Third Country Operators - Latest news

TCO - Latest News

Latest News

27/11/2014: EU Third Countries Operators (TCO) application phase has terminated

During the 6 months application phase, EASA has received approximately 600 applications.

According to the TCO regulation, EASA has now two years’ time (transition period) to process all applications, so until 26 November 2016.
The order followed to evaluate all applications received is at the discretion of EASA.

The operator must ensure that the data submitted via the TCO web-interface remains current at all times, in particular with respect to fleet information.
Operators shall continue to follow EU Member States national procedures to obtain operating permits for flights to the EU, until EASA has taken a decision on the application for a TCO authorisation.

It is important to highlight that during the transition period EU Member States are still entitled to perform safety assessments on those operators which have not yet received the TCO Authorisation from EASA .

Operators that have failed to meet the deadline are asked to submit their application immediately. EU Member States may withhold operating permits to commercial operators without a submitted TCO authorisation application to EASA. For further information, please consult the EASA TCO website and the related Frequently-asked-questions section. The application form is available here.


17/09/2014: EU application deadline for third country operators is approaching
The deadline to apply for a TCO Authorisation is 26th November 2014.
As of today, many third-country operators have not submitted their application yet.
Once the application has been received, EASA will conduct a safety evaluation of the technical questionnaire provided by the third-country operator to grant the TCO Authorisation.

All non-European commercial operators holding operating permits to any EASA Member State are invited to submit the TCO Authorisation application as soon as possible.

For further information, please consult the EASA TCO website and the related Frequently-asked-questions section.


26/05/2014: Regulation (EU) 452/2014, the so-called TCO Regulation has entered into force on 26 May 2014
EASA now accepts applications for a TCO authorisation. Before applying for a TCO authorisation, operators should study the regulatory material and the information provided our website and the FAQ section. The TCO application form can be found here. Operators who currently fly to Europe can continue to do so, but must submit to EASA an application for TCO authorisation before 26 November 2014.


06/05/2014: TCO Regulation published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM) available for download.

Commission Regulation (EU) No. 452/2014 laying down technical requirements and administrative procedures related to air operations of third country operators was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 6 May 2014. Annex 1 (Part-TCO) contains the requirements for the operator, while the authority requirements regarding the authorisation of foreign operators are laid down in Annex 2 (Part-ART) .
EASA has published associated Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM). This document is available in the document library (Part-TCO/ AMC/GM) of our website.
The TCO regulation will enter into force on 26 May 2014.


29/04/2014: Third Country Operators (TCO): New single EU-wide safety authorisation for foreign airlines flying to the European Union
The European Commission adopted today a new Regulation paving the way for airlines from outside the European Union to obtain a single EU-wide safety authorisation to fly to, from or within the EU. Foreign airlines will no longer be required to make a separate application for a safety authorisation to each EU Member State they want to fly to, as is the case now.The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will provide the authorisation which will be valid throughout the whole EU and will confirm EU-wide compliance with international safety standards. EC Press Release .


EASA provides a web based tool to stay abreast with the latest developments regarding the implementation of Part TCO

EASA will continue to publish relevant news related to the TCO Authorisation on this page. Interested parties are invited to subscribe to automatic notifications on the further development of Part-TCO. Information may include authorisation and transitional measures. Subscribing will also help stay informed about important TCO timelines. EASA will not use your data for any purpose other than related to the authorisation of third country operators.

Subscribe to latest news of TCO

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