The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was created to establish and maintain high uniform levels of civil aviation safety and environmental protection throughout its Member States.
Accordingly, EASA has 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.
Regulation (EU) No 2018/1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2018 is the EASA “Basic Regulation” defining the Agency’s roles and responsibilities, as well as establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation.
Article 77 of the Regulation instructs the Agency to “…carry out on behalf of Member States the functions and tasks of the state of design, manufacture or registry when those functions and tasks are related to design certification and mandatory continuing airworthiness information”, including type-certification of products, and certification of design organisations, production organisations located inside or outside the territory of Member States, as well as maintenance organisations located outside the territory of Member States.
Article 78 gives EASA responsibility for the certification of pilots and pilot training, as well as associated functions such as aero-medical facilities and flight simulation training devices.
Article 80 extends EASA responsibility to include certification of organisations providing pan-European ATM/ANS services and of organisations providing ATM/ANS services in the airspace of one or more EASA Member States but located outside their territory.
Article 81 empowers EASA to issue and renew certificates of air traffic controller training organisations located outside the territory of the Member States and, where relevant, their personnel.
The Agency’s work in certification 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 EASA and are valid throughout the European Union.
EASA is also the competent authority to approve and oversee the organisations involved in the design of aeronautical products, parts and appliances. It also carries out the same role for foreign organisations involved in the manufacture or maintenance of such products.
In the field of ATM/ANS, EASA shall conduct, itself or through national aviation authorities or qualified entities, investigations and audits of the organisations it certifies and, where relevant, their personnel.
The Agency's Certification work is concentrated in its Certification Directorate and is organised on the basis of:
- Type certification and continuing airworthiness of products, parts and appliances,
- Environmental approval of products,
- Design organisations and, as appropriate, production organisations approval,
- Foreign organisations approval.
The certification activities are carried out in accordance with procedures agreed by the EASA Management Board.
While the above functions will ultimately be centralised into EASA, during its build-up phase the Agency relies on, and concludes contractual arrangements with, national aviation authorities who have historically filled this role.
In the course of its certification work, EASA communicates with Type Certificate holders about ongoing developments in certification policy, typically on specific subjects. Where appropriate, letters, policy statements or guidance material are published to make clear the Agency’s views and position on the subjects in question.
With regard to the extension of EASA remit to ATM/ANS and airports new organisational and communication arrangements will be put in place to enable the effective discharge of thse additional responsibilities.