The European Union has adopted legislation designed to ensure acceptable safety standards in foreign aircraft using EU airports, and is preparing further laws on related issues.

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) says measures needed to “blacklist” banned aircraft or operators are gradually being distilled into EU law, and will be made more transparent.

The Safety of Foreign Aircraft act formalises safety checks on third-country aircraft using European airports and the collection and sharing of information on the findings, and all member states are required to comply with it by April 2006. This makes available to all the 42 European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) nations the details of any airline or aircraft that is banned by any one of the member states, but it remains up to the other countries’ authorities to use their own judgement on whether they should also ban carriers that appear on the consolidated list.

European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification director Dr Norbert Lohl says if a particular airline is banned for clearly contravening safety standards of one EASA member state, it is “ridiculous” for the others not to ban it.

Lohl says he is aware that the European Commission is preparing a consultation on whether the responsibility for monitoring aircraft from foreign states should become one of the legal duties of EASA, and he sees this as a natural extension of the agency’s overall responsibility for safety. The proposal is to be put forward in the next few weeks, says the UK DfT, and it will then become the subject of debate and consultation expected to take about two years.

It is not intended to impose European standards on foreign carriers, but to judge them – as the ECAC safety assessment of foreign aircraft programme does now – by International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.


Source: Flight International