David Learmount/BARCELONA

Europe is unlikely to achieve "a supra-national European Aviation Safety Authority" (EASA) without operating a transitional system to gain the confidence of Joint Aviation Authorities member states, says the European Commission's (EC) air and passenger safety unit head, Claude Probst.

An alternative model, which would allow the EC virtually to "rubber-stamp" JAA recommendations after the full consultation process may, however, be a viable first step, Probst said at Flight International's Crew Management conference in Barcelona, Spain, on 17-18 April. Such a system, based on European Union laws and practice, could be in place within two years, he estimates.

The "traditional" supra-national model of EASA, adopted by EU states in June 1998 for proposal to other JAA nations, "has little chance of being implemented", says Probst, as most nations are constitutionally unprepared to cede "transfer of executive authority from national administrations" to such a body. The regulatory ratification procedures for the model would be "difficult", he adds.

The alternative, which Probst calls "the Community EASA", could be set up under a European Parliament and Council regulation which would specify the organisation's principles, tasks and responsibilities. The EASA would not be a single unit, but a hybrid, with the JAA as its technical/operational agency and the EC as the regulatory executive.

Probst ventures that the JAA would probably be named "EASA". EU states would be obliged to recognise automatically "all [EASA] approvals granted in accordance with the common rules". They would supersede national regulations in EU states.

Source: Flight International