Home > Aviation safety, News > EU enacts new air safety law

EU enacts new air safety law

On September 21, the EU passed a new law aimed at improving air accident investigation by securing independence of air accident investigators.

Points to note (most are quoted, with minor edits):

  1. Safety investigation into an accident is to be conducted free of pressure from regulatory or other authorities.
  2. Any statements taken from individuals by a safety investigator, as well as voice and image recordings inside cockpits and air traffic control units, will be used only for safety investigation, unless there is an overriding reason for disclosure to the judiciary, to ensure people can testify without fear to the safety investigators.
  3. The safety investigation authority will be obliged to make public the final accident report in the shortest possible time and if possible within twelve months of the date of the accident or serious incident.
  4. Each Member State must set up a civil aviation accident emergency plan and ensure that all airlines based on its territory have a plan to assist victims of accidents and their relatives.
  5. EU airlines, as well as non-EU airlines departing from an EU airport, will be obliged to produce a list of all those on board an aircraft as soon as possible, and at the latest within two hours of the notification of the occurrence of an accident to the aircraft, and their names can only be made public after the families or close relatives of the passengers have been informed by the authorities and only if they do not object.
  6. A list of any dangerous goods on board the aircraft will have to be released by the airline immediately after the accident.
  7. Airlines to provide passengers with the means to indicate a contact person in case of an accident.
  8. Setting up of European Network of Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authorities to advise EU institutions, make Europe-wide air safety recommendations, promote best investigation practices and strengthen national safety investigation authorities.
  9. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will have access to the safety occurrence reports produced by Member States and may be invited to advise in accident investigations.

The newly passed law is important because it separates the regulatory body (EASA) from its investigation arm, as is done with the FAA and NTSB. Having both functions in a single organization would invariably lead to conflict of interests as the investigative arm tries to correct the regulatory one. The result being,  air accident investigations end up covered in hazy conclusions and little clarity. India’s DGCA is in a similar situation and we would do well to take a leaf from the EU in this regard.

Link here.

Thanks to Flightglobal  for the heads up .

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