Emma Kelly/LONDON

Eurocontrol is aiming for formal approval of the Eurocontrol Notice of Proposed Rule Making by its provisional council and the European Commission (EC) early next year following release of the draft proposal for industry comments late last month.

Eurocontrol and many sectors of the industry have long pushed for the ENPRM, which is designed eventually to give the air navigation organisation the power to enforce much-needed air traffic management (ATM) programmes. It allows those affected to review and comment on draft rules before they become binding.

The ENPRM is considered essential if Europe is to solve its air traffic control (ATC) problems.

The regulatory process itself is being used as the subject of the first ENPRM, says Eurocontrol, with industry having until 22 December to submit comments. The proposed ENPRM has been sent to Eurocontrol committees and commissions, Eurocontrol member states, air traffic service providers, international aviation organisations, such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Joint Airworthiness Authorities (JAA), trade associations, European Civil Aviation Conference members which are not part of Eurocontrol, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Nav Canada and Russia.

Eurocontrol has been working on the process for more than 12 months, having first submitted a paper to its council in July last year, with a more detailed proposal following in October when the council recognised "the urgent need" for the process. Since then, a Regulatory Task Force, comprising Eurocontrol, member states and interested parties, has been investigating it.

A workshop in May discussed the formal process description where it was "well supported", says Eurocontrol. The proposal was presented to the provisional council in July, when its recommendations were adopted and the formal consultation phase was launched. Formal responses are expected to be published early next year followed by submission of the process description to the council and EC transport ministers for approval.

The model being proposed is successfully employed by other aviation authorities, including the FAA, the JAA and Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority, says Eurocontrol. The ENPRM regulatory process will initially apply to ATM and safety regulation issues, with extension later to economic regulation.

The initiative has been forced by the air navigation organisation's experience of implementing ATM requirements, including the introduction of basic area navigation, which was postponed twice due to lack of compliance, and states' failures to meet ATC improvement deadlines. The process will eventually provide mechanisms to support the implementation, monitoring, enforcement and review of Eurocontrol rules, says the air navigation organisation.

The ENPRM document will comprise explanatory materials, including the purpose of the ENPRM, the comments period, justification for the rule, the draft rule and advisory material.

Source: Flight International