Originally, safety was one of the cornerstones of ECAC activities. The Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) were established by ECAC in 1990 in order to set uniform high safety standards within Europe and to unify the then multiple safety aviation certification procedures. After the establishment of the European Safety Aviation Agency (EASA) that took over JAA functions, ECAC safety activities were reduced in order to prevent overlaps or duplications.
Today, ECAC's safety activities are divided into the work in the area of air accident and incident investigations and the work in preparation for major international safety events through the newly established European Safety and Air Navigation Coordination Group (ESANCG).
Additionally, while safety programmes were passed on to EASA, ECAC remains active in promoting European aviation safety philosophy and practice beyond the region's borders, drawing on international, regional and bilateral partnerships developed over the years.
Some of ECAC's recent projects in the field of safety:
- ECAC undertook work to collect and make available up-to-date information about how each of its Member States handles requests for flights by home-built aircraft. The operators of such aircraft presently experience difficulty in establishing clearly the requirements for their operation in the different ECAC Member States;
- On 18 May 2016, ECAC Directors General adopted Recommendation ECAC/35-1 on the mutual acceptance by ECAC Member States of 'permits to fly' for specific types of historical aircraft. The aircraft concerned (approximately 10 000) are usually called 'Factory National Restricted Permit to Fly (FNRP) aircraft'. They were factory-manufactured, designed before 1 January 1955 and their production ended before 1 January 1975. Previously, they held an ICAO-compliant certificate of airworthiness. Now they operate under national rules as they fall within the scope of Annex II of EU Regulation (EC) 216/2008 (related to aircraft for which EASA does not have competence). This Recommendation should contribute to sustaining the historical knowledge of the FNRP aircraft, a great interest to many across Europe;
- At the European Search and Rescue Conference (Bucharest, May 2013), ECAC committed itself to promote and support cooperation arrangements within ECAC at sub-regional level, in accordance with Annex 12 to the Chicago Convention, to consolidate an effective search and rescue system within ECAC. To this aim, a survey was undertaken on the existing cross-border arrangements with a view to offering possible models of cooperation to ECAC Member States that wished to enter into new SAR cross-border arrangements.
Click here to see the results of the survey on the existing search and rescue (SAR) cross-border arrangements between ECAC Member States (as of December 2014).