On 30 January, the European Aviation Safety Agency published NPA 2009-02. This Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) is more than 1000 pages long and contains the EASA proposal for future Air Operations rules. This OPS NPA follows the publication of NPAs 2008-17 and 2008-22 on pilot licensing and authority requirements. This means that our technical experts are very busy at this moment; they have four months to comment on the new proposal.
NPA 2009-02 is not a big surprise for ECA. We knew it would be long and complex and that it would follow the Agency's trend to change "hard law" into "soft law" - a trend that ECA and other major stakeholders do have concerns about. Most of the work was done by "in house" legal experts, aiming at a legal target audience, rather than the operational community - also something that risks having undesirable consequences. The expert drafting groups, especially convened to contribute technical advice to the Agency, appear nonetheless to have had only a minimal influence on the draft rules.
The ECA experts are now in the process of analysing the text of the NPA. Our objective is to ensure that the regulation responds to the needs of our industry, guarantees highest safety levels, and takes into account the latest scientific evidence to ensure that the rules to be applied from 2012 are truly the rules of the 21st century.