The introduction of the first (air-transport) element of the Joint Airworthiness Authorities' (JAA) JAR-OPS 1 regulations may be delayed significantly beyond the 1 April deadline by the need to comply with European Commission's (EC's) own air-transport legislation.

In a move which has taken the JAA by surprise, EC Transport Directorate official Claude Probst told a recent meeting of the European Business Aircraft Association that European Union (EU) member states will be "counselled" not to implement any of the JAR-OPS rules, even though they have already been adopted by the JAA member states, until they have become part of EU law. He admits that the process may result in delay to the introduction of JAR-OPS.

Individual national aviation authorities have begun to implement the rules in their own countries and many are so far down the adoption road that reversion to the old national regulations is impossible.

The implications of the EC move on the wording of the adopted JAR-OPS is uncertain. It says that it plans to circulate what it calls "friendly proposals" to member governments which are "broadly in line" with the rules as they stand, although one EC official says that he "-could not rule out" significant changes being made "for political or other" reasons.

Delays may also occur because of the long process of transforming the JAR-OPS into EU law. "We have a problem of resources," says the EC official, "but we will do our best," he adds.

Another potential problem may lie in the fact that the EU's membership consists of 11 countries, whereas the JAA's includes 27 nations, raising questions over non-EU states having to comply with EU legislation. The EC official says that such difficulties "-highlight the argument for transforming the JAA into a body having regulatory power, with the EU as one of its members".

The JAAa grees that the differences between the current JAR- OPS proposals (which have been adopted by JAA member nations) and EU air-transport regulations, are minimal.

Source: Flight International