Plans to revive Air Zimbabwe have hit a major obstacle as the airline was just added to the notorious blacklist of the European Union over safety concerns expressed by the EU regulators.
The Zimbabwean national airline was joined by three other carriers, one from Nigeria, one from the Ukraine and another from St. Vincent and Grenadines.
Recent audits of these countries by EASA revealed enough shortcomings to warrant the inclusion of Air Zimbabwe on the list it was learned overnight after the latest updates were published in Brussels yesterday.
In contrast was Mozambique as a country cleared and taken off the blacklist, giving LAM the option to seek landing rights in any of the EU countries.
Benin too was removed from the updated list.
The EU has both entire countries as well as airlines found to cause safety concerns with EASA on the list which presently included 16 countries and 174 airlines.
Over the past months were repeated comments from both the airline and the Zimbabwean government interpreted that a major revival would soon go underway but under the present circumstances will this ambition now face yet more challenges than just finding the finances to do it as other countries often adopt EASA’s bans and prohibit flights into or above their territories.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is an agency of the European Union (EU) with regulatory and executive tasks in the field of civilian aviation safety. Based in Cologne, Germany, the EASA was created on 15 July 2002,and it reached full functionality in 2008, taking over functions of the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA). European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries have been granted participation in the agency.
The responsibilities of EASA include to analysis and research of safety, authorising foreign operators, giving advice for the drafting of EU legislation, implementing and monitoring safety rules including inspections in the member states, giving type-certification of aircraft and components as well as the approval of organisations involved in the design, manufacture and maintenance of aeronautical products.
As part of Single European Sky II the agency have been given additional tasks.[These will be implemented before 2013.Amongst other things, EASA will now be able to certify Functional Airspace Blocks if more than three parties are involved.
The JAA was headquartered at Hoofddorp, North Holland. One difference between EASA and JAA is that EASA has legal regulatory authority within the European Union (EU) through the enactment of its regulations through the European Commission, Council of the European Union and European Parliament, while most of the JAA regulatory products were harmonised codes without direct force of law.
Also, some JAA nations such as Turkey were outside the EU whereas by definition, EASA is an agency of the EU and other nations adopt its rules and procedures on a voluntary basis.
EASA has jurisdiction over new type certificates and other design-related airworthiness approvals for aircraft, engines, propellers and parts. EASA works with the National Aviation Authorities (NAAs) of the EU members but has taken over many of their functions in the interest of aviation standardisation across the EU and non-EU member Turkey.
EASA is also responsible for assisting the European Commission in negotiating international harmonisation agreements with the 'rest of the world' (ROW) on behalf of the EU member states and also concludes technical agreements at a working level directly with its counterparts around the world such as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
EASA also sets policy for aeronautical repair stations (Part 145 organisations in Europe and the US – also known as Part 571 organisations in Canada) and issues repair station certificates for repair stations located outside the EU,which permits foreign repair stations to perform work acceptable to the European Union on EU aircraft.
EASA has developed regulations for air operations, flight crew licensing and non-EU aircraft used in the EU and these shall apply after the required European legislation to expand the Agency's remit enters into force,the legislation was published on 19 March 2008
In 2012 the European Court of Auditors found that EASA did not have an agency specific conflict of interest policy and procedures. EASA does not obtain or assess the declarations of interest for staff, Management Board, Board of appeal and experts.
In addition to the member states of the union, the countries part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), i.e. Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, have been granted participation under Article 66 of the Basic Regulation and are members of the Management Board without voting rights. There are also numerous working relationships with other authorities.
In Europe, Aircraft Maintenance Certifying Personnel have to comply to Part-66 Certifying Staff of the EASA.
Part-66 was based on the older JAR system and the required training level followed the ATA 104 system. There are 3 levels of authorisation:
Category A (Line Maintenance Certifying Mechanic [LMCM]): Basic A category Licence + Task Training (Level depends on Task Complexity) + Company Certification Authorization for specific Tasks ("A category A aircraft maintenance licence permits the holder to issue certificates of release to service following minor scheduled line maintenance and simple defect rectification within the limits of tasks specifically endorsed on the authorisation. The certification privileges shall be restricted to work that the licence holder has personally performed in a Part-145 organisation"),
Category B1 (Mechanical) and/or B2(Avionics) (Line Maintenance Certifying Technician [LMCT]): Basic B1/B2 category Licence + Type Training (i.e. Line and Base Maintenance I.A.W. Part-66 Appendix III Level III) + Company Certification Authorization ("a category B1 aircraft maintenance licence shall permit the holder to issue certificates of release to service following maintenance, including aircraft structure, powerplant and mechanical and electrical systems.
Replacement of avionic line replaceable units, requiring simple tests to prove their serviceability, shall also be included in the privileges. Category B1 shall automatically include the appropriate 'A' subcategory", a Category B2 aircraft maintenance licence shall permit the holder to issue certificates of release to service following maintenance on avionic and electrical systems").
Category C (Base Maintenance Certifying Engineer [BMCE]): Basic C category licence + Type Training (Line & Base Maintenance i.a.w. Part-66 Appendix III, Level III for the first Type Rating and Part-66 Level I training for subsequent Aircraft Types of similar technology, otherwise Level III training) + Company Certification Authorization ("a category C aircraft maintenance licence shall permit the holder to issue certificates of release to service following base maintenance on aircraft. The privileges apply to the aircraft in its entirety in a Part-145 organisation").
A significant difference between the US and the European systems is that in the United States, aircraft maintenance technicians (Part 65 Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics) are permitted to work under their own certificates and approve their own work for return to service. European Part 66 certificate holders are required to perform their functions under the aegis of a Part 145 organisation for Transport Category and Large (MTOM 5700 kg) Airplanes.
The part 145 organisation in the EASA system has the authority to approve for return to service. Many non-European countries have been moving toward the European approach, most notably Canada.
Maintenance organisation approval
To obtain approval to be an aeronautical repair station, an organisation must write, submit and keep updated a Maintenance Organisation Exposition (MOE). To support their MOE they must have a documented set of procedures. Thirdly the organisation must have a compliance matrix to show how they meet the requirements of Part-145.
EASA Part-M consists of several subparts. The noteworthy subparts are F (Maintenance for aircraft below 5700 kg in non commercial environment), G (Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization = CAMO, coordinating the compliance of aircraft with maintenance program, airworthiness directives and service bulletins) – the airworthiness code is available on the EASA website ([easa.europa.eu]) in the regulations section.
Training organisation requirements
To go with Part-66 on the issuing of licences is the larger area of setting up and gaining approval for a training school for aircraft mechanics and technicians. Part-147 governs the larger situation of establishing such a training organisation. To obtain approval to be an aeronautical training organisation, an organisation must write, submit and keep updated a Maintenance Training Organisation Exposition (MTOE).
To support their MTOE they must have a documented set of procedures. Thirdly the organisation must have a compliance matrix to show how they meet the requirements of Part-147.
Design organisation approval
Design Organisation means an organisation responsible for the design of aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, auxiliary power units, or related parts and appliances, and holding, or applying for, type-certificates, supplemental type-certificates, changes or repairs design approvals or ETSO Authorisations.
A design organisation holds DOA (Design Organisation Approval) or, by way of derogation, Alternatives Procedures to DOA. A DOA-List enlisting all companies holding DO Approval with their capabilities can be downloaded from the EASA web-site.
Part 21 requirements for Design Organisation Approvals and Production Organisation Approvals, as described in Regulation (EC) 748/2012 on 'Implementing Rules'
Production organisation approval
A part built for an aircraft can be certificated with an EASA Form One as approved for a particular aircraft type once it has been installed as prototype to an aircraft and has been certificated by a Design Organisation with a Minor Change Approval, a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) or a Type Certificate (TC).
Safety analysis and research activities
The work of the European Aviation Safety Agency centres on ensuring the highest levels of civil aviation safety, through certification of aviation products, approval of organisations to provide aviation services, development and implementation of a standardised European regulatory framework.
These tasks are supported by:
coordination of internal and external safety improvement initiatives. For instance the European Strategic Safety Initiative (ESSI) is an aviation safety partnership between EASA, other regulators and the industry aiming to further enhance safety for citizens in Europe and worldwide through safety analysis, implementation of cost effective action plans, and coordination with other safety initiatives worldwide.
providing reports concerning the safety of European and worldwide aviation,
focal point for coordination of aviation accident investigation safety recommendations.
Annual safety review
EASA is tasked by Article 15(4) of Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008 to provide a review of aviation safety on an annual basis.
The Annual Safety Review presents statistics on European and worldwide civil aviation safety. The statistics are grouped according to type of operation, for instance commercial air transport, and aircraft category, such as aeroplanes, helicopters, gliders etc. EASA had access to accident and statistical information collected by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
States are required, according to ICAO Annex 13 on Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, to report to ICAO information on accidents and serious incidents to aircraft with a maximum certificated take-off mass (MTOM) over 2250 kg. Therefore, most statistics in this review concern aircraft above this mass.
In addition to the ICAO data, a request was made to the EASA Member States to obtain light aircraft accident data. Furthermore, data on the operation of aircraft for commercial air transport was obtained from both ICAO and the NLR Air Transport Safety Institute.
On 28 September 2003, the EASA took over responsibility for the airworthiness and environmental certification of all aeronautical products, parts, and appliances designed, manufactured, maintained or used by persons under the regulatory oversight of EU Member States.
The Certification work also includes all post-certification activities, such as the approval of changes to, and repairs of, aeronautical products and their components, as well as the issuing of airworthiness directives to correct any potentially unsafe situation.
All type-certificates are therefore now issued by the EASA and are valid throughout the European Union. It also carries out the same role for foreign organisations involved in the manufacture or maintenance of such products. The EASA relies on national aviation authorities who have historically filled this role and concludes contractual arrangements to this effect.
Certain categories of aeroplanes are however deliberately left outside EASA responsibility, thus remaining under control of the national CAA's: ultralights, experimentals, balloons are a few examples. They are generally referred to as "Annex II" aeroplanes, and are listed exhaustively on the EASA website.
EASA defines several classes of aircraft, each with their own ruleset for certification and maintenance and repair.
A complex aeroplane is one with a MTOW of 5700 kg or more, OR with seating for 19 passengers or more, OR requiring more than pilot, OR equipped with (a) turbojet engine(s) or more than one turboprop engine. Thus, a single turbo-prop could classify as non-complex.
Non-complex aircraft are further subdivided:
ELA2 for max. 2000 kg MTOW
ELA1 for max. 1200 kg MTOW
Separate rules exist for the classification of balloons and rotorcraft.