The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has been criticised by law makers in the UK, who urged that country's government to delay the transfer of aviation safty oversight to the pan-European agency.
A UK parliamentary committee branded the agency an "accident waiting to happen", as it had failed to meet its procedural milestones set so far. The cross-party transport committee heard evidence from the UK Civil Aviation Authority, a longtime sceptic of the capabilities of EASA, which was founded in 2003.
The House of Commons Transport Select Committee concluded in its report into the work of the CAA that EASA had failed to coordinate aviation safety regulation across Europe and as such the UK should block any extension to the agency's powers. EASA currently has oversight for new aircraft certification and maintenance approvals, which is subcontracted often back to national aviation authorities. EASA, a European Commission body, is seeking an extension to mandate operations and licencing and in the longer term everything from aircraft accident investigation to airport security.
"[EASA's] lamentable problems of governance, management and resources must not be allowed to compromise aviation safety in the UK in any way," committee chair Gwyneth Dunwoody said in a statement."The UK must not transfer any further powers from the CAA to the agency until the government is assured that it is fit for purpose."
The European Parliament (Europarl) has proposed in the draft legislation a delay in implementation of the extension of powers for EASA until the agency is fully resourced to carry out these responsibilities.
The UK CAA, along with several other nations' authorities including that from the Netherlands, expressed concern last year in a Flight exclusive EASA review into the effectiveness of the new agency in its first year, which has been hampered by budgetary and staffing issues since its move from Brussels to Cologne.
EASA was not immediately available to comment. However, UK Labour Party transport spokesperson in Europarl, Robert Evans defended EASA saying: "Aviation is not a just a national issue. Since we have created a single sky which allows European travellers to freely move around the European Union without barriers we need a European approach to safety."
Evans continued: "We cannot be irresponsible when safety is at stake, extending the competence of EASA is a key step to improving all of Europe's aviation safety, UK citizens do not just take UK flights."
Evans alleges the UK committee did not consult the EC, EASA or Europarl in drafting its report, instead relying on the advice of the CAA, whose existence is threatened by any EASA extension.