Transition of European aeronautical regulatory responsibility to the new European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has gone smoothly, claims the organisation's executive director Patrick Goudou, and final preparations are under way to add maintenance rules to its existing remit on airworthiness and certification, writes David Kaminski-Morrow.

EASA began operating on 28 September as the centralised aviation regulatory agency for the European Union, similar to the US Federal Aviation Administration. EASA is a more powerful body than the current Joint Aviation Authorities, which is a forum of member countries' aviation authorities that harmonised their national regulations. EASA has the authority to make pan-EU regulations and impose them.

Goudou says: "The start of the transition phase has been very good indeed. EASA began on the planned date [and] our goal is to make the change as non-noticeable as possible." He continues: "My first concern is to recruit qualified, competent people," for which EASA will draw heavily on the experience of the JAA.

Certification has been the first area to be moved from individual member states' control to EASA. "For maintenance the [preparatory] process is at an end but the implementation rules have not yet been published. This will happen in the forthcoming weeks," Goudou says, adding: "I expect operations and licensing to be on board in 2004."

EASA's initial work will include refinement, says Goudou. There have been minor changes to the JAA standards to improve transparency and clarification. "These differences are improving safety. In 2004 we have to continue this work and correct - with the help of interested parties - any discrepancies in the requirements."

Source: Flight International