David Learmount/LONDON

AN UNRELEASED DRAFT convention attempting to define the role and legal status of a fully unified European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) has been attacked by the International Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations (IFALPA) for leaving essential points "shrouded in mystery".

IFALPA has written to the JAA, complaining that the draft leaves open the legal status of the convention and argues that it is not clear how that status will eventually be defined. The letter appears to be broadly in favour of the overall concept of a central European-aviation regulatory agency, however.

In a reply to IFALPA's criticism, JAA general secretary Klaus Koplin welcomes the early interest, but emphasises that the document is still in its infancy. "We don't know what [Governmental organisation] will be our ultimate head," he admits.

The fact that the JAA extends well beyond the 15 states of the European Union (EU) adds further legal complications to its status. The unified body will have to be agreed at Government level and established by a treaty between the 23 independent member countries, says Koplin.

IFALPA argues that some safety issues, such as human factors, should be kept within the context of EU law. "We are concerned that the [JAA] appears not to be fully equipped to deal with human factors in air-transport operations. These require not only a technical, engineering-based approach, but also require consideration of complex social factors such as are more properly accounted for within the EU context," it writes.

Other IFALPA points on the draft Convention include the lack of an accountability structure and concern that a central JAA might "...simply add another bureaucratic layer to the regulatory process".

IFALPA also highlights the need to step up efforts to harmonise with the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Source: Flight International