The International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (IAOPA) is calling on the European Commission (EC) not to include small aircraft operators in its planned legislation for new minimum liability insurance requirements.

The legislation, now in draft format, covers all aircraft operators flying within, into, out of, or over European Union (EU) countries, says IAOPA. The general aviation industry trade body says that many EU countries already impose fair mandatory liability insurance requirements, but it says the EC's proposed limits are "far too high and could be ruinous for many operators of private and business aircraft".

A single-engined Cessna 172 operating in Germany, for example, is required to carry €3 million ($3 million) of insurance cover. Under the new proposals, all aircraft under 25,000kg (55,000lb) maximum take-off weight will have to carry the equivalent of €110 million liability insurance, says IAOPA, which could cost an operator between €11,000 and €15,000 in annual premiums.

Martin Robinson, IAOPA's deputy vice-president for the EU region, says general aviation operators are being penalised because of last year's terrorist attacks in Washington DC and New York, as well as the April crash of a light aircraft into the Pirelli tower in central Milan, Italy.

"This legislation in its current form must not see the light of day," Robinson says. "It could adversely affect small aircraft operations throughout the EU to such an extent that general aviation could disappear off the European map."

Source: Flight International