Egyptian safety oversight capabilities are being kept under scrutiny by the European Commission, although it has not moved to blacklist any of the country’s carriers.

The Commission states, in a 30 May blacklist update, that it held a technical meeting with Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority representatives in mid-April as part of a review of the regulator’s activities and documentation.

While Commission acknowledges that the ECAA is engaged in a “comprehensive” restructuring process, it adds: “It nevertheless appears that the current focus of the ECAA is on addressing mainly visible and obvious deficiencies without sufficiently robust root-cause analysis.

“Increased efforts are needed as regards safety oversight of Egyptian air carriers and improved safety culture, as well as proper implementation of corrective and preventive actions.”

The authority was informed, during the technical meeting, about particular concerns such as the lack of implementation of a national aviation safety plan, issues with promoting a robust safety culture, and lack of verifiable numbers for active flight-operations inspectors to oversee 16 carriers holding air operator’s certificates.

Shortcomings including lack of guidance – both within carriers and the ECAA – on establishing flight-data analysis programme, and an absence of inspector training records, were also brought up.

AlMasria Universal-c-Eric Salard Creative Commons

Source: Eric Salard/Creative Commons

Cairo-based AlMasria’s third-country approval was withdrawn by EASA

The ECAA responded with details on measures enacted and planned, including creation of several new safety directorates, and underlined efforts to recruit qualified personnel through a financial incentive scheme.

“Complementary to this, the ECAA highlighted its initiative to introduce risk-based oversight,” says the Commission.

Although the Commission recognises the ECAA’s steps to improve oversight, it says it intends to maintain a consultation process – including regular contact and progress reports – as part of continuous monitoring, and will arrange additional technical meetings.

It points out that a “significant” number of Egyptian airlines hold third-party operator authorisation from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and, as a result, the Commission will co-ordinate its actions closely with EASA.

EASA’s most recent update, dated 31 May, lists 15 Egyptian airlines as having third-country operator approvals, among them EgyptAir, Air Cairo, Air Arabia Egypt and Nile Air.