EASA’s Basic Regulation is currently undergoing a major makeover. On 30 January the European Parliament voted on a draft report to refine the role and governance structure of the European Aviation Safety Agency. The adoption of the balanced draft report by David Sassoli (MEP) brings a number of important changes to EASA’s Basic Regulation (No 216/2008).
The first – technical – part of the report, which reflects on a proposal by the European Commission, extends EASA’s remit to air traffic management and air navigation services. The second part lays down rules relating to the governance and functioning of the Agency.
One of the notable changes is that EASA will lose the “S”, which stands for “SAFETY”, from its name. Although Mr Sassoli tried to prevent this, EASA will soon become EAA – European Union Agency for Aviation. While deleting the word “safety” from the name of the Agency is an unfortunate decision for Europe’s aviation, the Parliamentarians did ensure that safety remains the prime objective for the Agency. The approved Sassoli report also reinforces the Agency’s responsibilities and adds a number of checks and balances to its governing structure. Amendments related e.g. to the new Executive Board of EASA and the role of the EU Parliament monitoring the work of the Agency have been adopted.
These changes to EASA’s Basic Regulation are an important step towards ensuring the Agency is a well-equipped safety regulator and oversight body, which is able to effectively oversee Europe’s increasingly complex aviation.