Common safety standards for air travel to be guaranteed by the European Aviation Safety Agency

As stated by te Press Service of the European Parliament, “MEPs in the Transport Committee voted on Tuesday to give the European Aviation Safety Agency the power to impose fines on airlines or other aviation players if safety standards are not correctly implemented. This came as they gave the go-ahead for an expansion of the Agency’s role to help establish common, and properly enforced, safety standards for all airlines flying in Europe, whether EU-based or not.The Committee adopted its first reading report on proposals to give the European Aviation Safety Agency new roles across the whole field of aviation and airline behaviour – including the conditions for operating aircraft and issuing, maintaining, limiting or suspending an operator’s certificate. The EASA will also have competence over pilots’ licences, to ensure they meet standards of knowledge, skill and language proficiency. Jörg Leichtfried (PES, AT), the rapporteur, said, ‘Uniform safety standards at the highest possible level are our objective.’ He said the EASA therefore needs ‘not only the theoretical, but also real, practical powers to carry out the tasks it is entrusted with.’ Following this line, the committee voted to change the Commission proposal and give the EASA the power to impose fines and periodic payment penalties if safety standards are not implemented correctly. Sources of information on abuses or non-compliance, notably including whistleblowers, should be given adequate protection, according to another amendment adopted by MEPs, with the aim of encouraging reporting of such events and reducing the number of accidents. The EASA was set up in 2002 to help provide a high and uniform level of aviation safety across Europe, by drawing up common standards, overseeing their application in the EU and promoting them at world level. Previously, each Member State had adopted its own national legislation, based on the minimum international standards.”

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