UK CAA boss slams European safety body's 18-month record

After 18 months of operation, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is failing to work effectively with national aviation authorities (NAA) to enable it to discharge its statutory duties, says UK Civil Aviation Authority chairman Sir Roy McNulty.

That is just one of a long list of failures of which McNulty insists EASA is guilty, yet he emphasises the agency is an essential part of European aviation's future and maintains that his message is positive – that "EASA must be set firmly on the right track soon".

Speaking at the Royal Aero­nautical Society's Aerospace 2005 seminar last week in London, Mc­Nulty said that EASA started with problems, many of which he blames on the European Union for its failures in planning and provision of a proper budget. EASA started, he said, with "manpower planning" problems that it still has, and its failure to co-operate effectively with the NAAs has compounded this difficulty because it is unable to make optimum use of their expertise. EASA is, McNulty alleged, weighed down with an overly complex "Euroland" structure, and instead of approaching its task of standardising safety by working with the industry and the NAAs, it is insisting on "setting a new agenda".

McNulty's most stinging criticism is that EASA suffers from "a lack of proper planning, management and governance". McNulty provided a recipe for "the EASA we want to see in five years". His ingredients describe an organisation that will:

* help [the NAAs] to achieve their safety objectives;

* keep at EASA's centre only those functions that need to be centralised, and to devolve the rest of the tasks – a system McNulty described as "good subsidiarity with NAAs";

* create effective links to all other parts of aviation;

* be open and transparent;

* communicate clearly;

* provide continuity of regulation;

* operate good management and governance.

McNulty said it is as much the European Commission's task as EASA's to rectify failings.

EASA says McNulty's comments seem to be based on a misunderstanding of the agency's remit, and a fear that EASA is "eating away at his area of competence". EASA says it cannot understand the criticism "that we do not co-operate with member states".


Source: Flight International