Safety is the cornerstone of a sustainable aviation sector, a key area for economic growth in the EU. But aviation safety in the XXI century means to be ready and regularly adapt to new safety risks such as drones and new forms of cybercrime. To adjust to this evolving technological environment, the EESC has adopted an opinion that supports a new approach to safety based on risk assessment and performance, with regular evaluation of the rules every five years.
"New rules for aviation safety will need to ensure safe, secure and environmentally friendly air transport for all passengers and public", said Raymond Hencks, rapporteur on the opinion, "We need to take into account the essential European dimension of aviation safety and increase actions at EU level. Member States should have a common approach to avoid complexity and duplication when it comes to safety standards. Europe is there just to do that."
The new approach should be coupled with enhancing the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) capacity and ensuring a transparent and inclusive transition to the new system based on risk assessment and performance. For the EESC, the mandate of the EASA should be further extended to undertake greater responsibilities in the area of security, notably to deal with emergencies, and its funding should not depend on charging Single European Sky services. At the same time, additional elements such as certification requirements for ground handling providers and a licensing system for cabin crew should be considered.
The EESC calls for comprehensive and coherent regulations for drones, to ensure safety. Indeed, a coherent approach to licensing for the operation and possession of drones must be put in place including as regards registration.