BRUSSELS – The European Parliament’s Transport Committee voted on 1100+ amendments aimed at strengthening the proposed new ‘Basic Regulation’ of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The result: Stronger rules for Drone Safety, tightened procedures for cooperative Safety Oversight by national aviation authorities, and a new article to mandate EASA to address the interdependencies between safety & socio-economic factors. This sets a solid basis for the ‘Trilogue’ with the Council of Transport Ministers and EU Commission, in early 2017.
“With this vote, EU Parliamentarians demonstrate that they are serious about making EASA fit for the next decade” says Capt. Dirk Polloczek, ECA President. He continues: “This is crucial, as our skies will become busier in future as ‘new entrants’ – like Drones – are joining the airspace. We are therefore particularly satisfied with the tightened safety rules for drone operations, including the requirement of a drone pilot license for commercial operations. This is good news, as the EU Commission proposal had been an empty shell, which urgently needed filling with life. We see that the Transport Committee listened to the joint stakeholder call for drones to develop their full potential being safely integrated into the airspace, i.e. without endangering the aeroplanes and helicopters with people on board.”
“Safety risks associated with complex and in-transparent new business set-ups and atypical employment forms, such as zero-hours contracts, self employment or pay-to-fly schemes, need urgently and systematically addressing – and EASA has a key role to play in this”, says Philip von Schoppenthau, ECA Secretary General. “We therefore welcome the large cross-party support for a new Article in EASA’s Regulation, which will require the Agency to take measures to prevent socio-economic risks to aviation safety, and to publish every three years a review of all actions taken to address such risks. This is a major step forward, which Europe’s pilot community fully supports.”
ECA also welcomes a number of other improvements adopted by the Committee, such as: amendments aimed at strengthening cooperative & shared Safety Oversight; at ensuring a separate revision of EU Reg. 1008/2008 as regards prior approval of Wet-Leasing operations; at ensuring every cabin crew obtains a license; and specific amendments preventing exploitative ‘Pay-to-Fly’ schemes.