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European Aviation Safety Agency claims to make aviation safety more transparent

How many hours can a pilot fly?

The demonstration to protest against the new FTL gathered more than 300 cabin crew and pilots in front of the agency in May 2012. According to protesting pilots, new rules reflect the airlines’ commercial demands and reduce the safety standards in Europe putting lives of passengers at risk. Under new regulations a pilot would land an aircraft after having been awake for 22 hours. FTL would also allow night flights of up to 12 and a half hours. In addition, it would increase the maximum shift time for a long haul flight with two pilots from 12 to 14 hours. According to Jeremie Teahan the adoption of the opinion was as transparent as it could be. “While it was difficult to find consensus with all stakeholders, EASA assures that rules provide a substantial improvement in safety,” says Teahan. The agency carried out a full literature review and hired three independent scientists to review the current rules. It also involved two periods of extensive consultations throughout the process with aviation safety experts, cabin crew, union representatives and scientists. Teahan confirms: “the proposed rules have more than 30 safety improvements compared to current rules.” For example, rest for flights with many time zone crossings is significantly increased and new limits in terms of allowed flight time hours per 14 day period is introduced. The Communications Officer assures: “the new rules will benefit all passengers and will not put passengers’ safety at risk.”

More on FTL here: pages/flight-time-limitations

Too transparent

European Aviation Safety Agency encourages transpar By Evgenia  Belyaeva Every day more than five million passengers in the world travel by air. Compared to other modes of transport, the aviation sector records the lowest number of accidents and flying remains the safest means of travel. Yet safety regulations, which determine when and under what conditions aircraft are allowed to fly, are improved every year. European Aviation Safety Agency, established in 2003, is an agency of the European Union that proposes and develops common aviation safety rules in Europe. It has earned a reputation of being a transparent organization through disclosure of information, communication with stakeholders and an open record of its budget. Eager to find out how the annual rules development helps transparency I visit its main office in Cologne. There on the 16th floor of a 103-meter tall tower building made of glass I meet Jeremie Teahan. The 27-year-old Irish Communications Officer in charge of handling media relations invites

me to his office full of airplane pictures on the walls and four miniature aircraft in each office corner. Teahan says that the main functions of the agency, apart from proposing rules, are “to give aircraft, helicopters and balloons certificates that allow them to fly and oversee national aviation authorities, various airlines and maintenance organizations to ensure that the rules are properly applied.” The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) works hand in hand with national authorities and has a wide range Jeremie Teahan, young and of stakeholders enthusiastic Communications ranging from large Officer at EASA airlines to small maintenance stations.Teahan adds: “EASA produces aviation safety rules that mainly apply to operators in Europe. European rules are then very often taken and adapted by other countries.”


In October 2012 EASA issued the Opinion on Flight and Duty Time Limitations (FTL) that will regulate and standardize the amount of hours European pilots can fly. It will now pass through the EU legislative process before a new European scheme is adopted.

Blacklist of unsafe airplanes Airlines that do not comply with the safety regulations are not permitted to fly and land at European airports. These airlines are listed on a European blacklist, compiled by the European Commission in consultation with Air Safety Committee and EASA. The list is updated every three months and is based on technical inspections and number of accidents. It can be applied to an individual air company or an entire state. Countries that are in the black list: - Afghanistan - Congo - Honduras - Indonesia (all except 4 airline companies) - Kazakhstan (all except Air Astana) - Kyrgyzstan - Philippines

Photo: XXXXxx

- Sierra Leone

t to be true

Check to read the full list here: safety/air-ban/

Photo: Pavel Jedlicka

rency in its decision-making processes The agency also has a bilateral agreement with the USA that came into force in 2011 where they recognize each other’s rules and certifications. Non-European airlines flying into Europe will soon require a certificate issued by EASA. The certificate ensures that they meet certain safety criteria. “This will reduce their administrative burden since these airlines today required individual authorizations from each country they want to fly into,” says the Communications Officer. The long road to transparency through rules European Aviation Safety Agency gets a request either from European legislators or any external stakeholder to propose a rule. The first step is “a transparent composition of rulemaking group that is composed of various stakeholders affected by the rule: pilots, cabin crew, industry, airlines and member states,” says Teahan. There is an initial proposal, published on the website and followed by a three- month

common response period. Stakeholders or general public can comment on it via EASA’s website. The young and enthusiastic Communications Officer says that “the agency does not put the

“Your safety is our mission” rule proposal somewhere in the corner, but it is very forthcoming. The comments are analysed one by one and included in the second rulemaking proposal.” EASA then publishes the final rulemaking proposal called Opinion. Afterwards the Opinion is submitted to the European Commission to approve it as legislation or reject it. Every stage in the rulemaking process is published on the website. All scientific reports, studies, feedback, everything that EASA receives are made available for anyone interested. Is the agency really as transparent as the tower made of glass they work in? “The primary mission of EASA is to

ensure the safety of passengers. The general public have to trust what the agency is doing. And one of the main ways that they can trust EASA is that we have to be as transparent as possible,” ensures Teahan. For all of EASA’s proposals one can see the names of the people who are working on the rules. Teahan says that EASA justifies when they take aboard a suggestion or refuse it. EASA also has legal obligations to be transparent. As any agency of the European Union, they work under a set of administrative and financial regulations. “The agency is completely transparent in publishing its annual budget and any procurement procedures,” says Teahan. One third of the agency’s budget comes from subsidy from the EU and two thirds from fees and charges from the industry. Yet even here, transparency has its limits. For example, intellectual property rights have to be protected. “When you certify an airplane you work with documents that are under strict intellectual property rights and whereby the agency has access to that for its work, but it is not disclosed everywhere to everyone who requests it,” says Teahan. “But one thing is clear,” he pauses for a second and says: “Bureaucracy can only survive when it is transparent.” You can read all documents on rules development on EASA’s website: http://easa.

Too transparent to be true  

Every day more than five million passengers in the world travel by air. Compared to other modes of transport, the aviation sector records th...