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Air Operators Regulation Close to Final Issue -
A Reflection on its Impact

Recently returned from the EASA Conference on the forthcoming Authority and Organisation Requirements in Cologne, Baines Simmons’s Technical Director Bob Simmons shares his initial reflections on the soon to be issued regulations and their impact on the aviation industry.

The agenda for the Conference included EASA’s Rulemaking Directorate presenting the proposed regulations as published in the Comment Response Documents issued in October 2010, explaining its scope and providing a more detailed view of the new regulatory structure which will apply to all certified organisations in the future.

So what are these new regulations?

Well, it’s EASA Part OR and AR, which are the general parts of the regulations that will impact all organisations at some stage. OR.GEN is part of a new horizontal structure which is being introduced by EASA which will start to become effective from 8th April 2012, a date that is established in the Basic Regulation.

Unlike EU-OPS or JAR-OPS 3, the new structure has actually broken out what was a fully inclusive single regulatory document into different areas. So you’ve now got Authority Requirements; Organisational General Requirements; Operational Requirements; Commercial Air Transport; Personnel Requirements and Third-Country Operator Requirements (which will come later).

Under each one of those cover regulation requirements come Implementing Rules which are the Parts, the Part OR being the main one in there, and then specific technical implementing rules which will define the requirements for things like non-commercial operators, non-commercial operators of complex aircraft, Part CAT which is Commercial Air Transport, special operations and the like, cabin crew, for example.

So it’s going to be quite a fragmented regulatory structure that will take some coming to grips with over a period of time.

Eventually, that horizontal structure, including OR GEN will apply to all certified organisations. That will include the airworthiness approved organisations as they are at the moment, the Part 145s, CAMOs, Part 21s and the Part 147s. For these organisations, there will be a transition from the current EASA regulatory structure into the new Part OR structure as well.

When will it come into effect?

The Regulation is scheduled to be issued in June 2011. The regulation will start to become effective a year later on 8th April 2012. At that time it will become immediately effective for Operators, both commercial and private operators of complex aircraft. It will also apply to Flight Training Organisations who offer pilot training, to Non-Commercial Operators as well those involved in Aerial Work and the like.

From here, we will go into a transition period; the UK CAA expects it to take two or even three years to actually allow for the full transition across to the new structure. This is permitted by an opt out clause in the new regulation.

How will it affect you if you are a Commercial Operator?

Initially, you will gain approval because EU-OPS is deemed to be equivalent and you will be granted an approval on 8th April 2012. You’ll then be given a transition period to comply with the full requirements of the new regulations, which will be in the opt-out period that the CAA will eventually publish.

During this time work will need to be done on the Safety Manuals, on Ops Manuals and on the new requirements that have yet to be published for Fatigue Risk Management (FRMS) and also for Cabin Crew attestations and so on. Not least, there will be a need to demonstrate compliance and the means of compliance with the requirement to the Competent Authority – the UK CAA in this country.

The most noticeable part of OR GEN, the part that will take the most effort in the end, however, will be the implementation of Safety Management System rules in the general organisational management requirements. A massive undertaking for many in itself.

So, yes, there is quite a lot of work for the Operators to get to grips with even with the anticipated opt-out period.

How does this change compare to the change from JAR to EASA Regulations in the Airworthiness sector?

With the airworthiness rules they were based quite closely on the existent JAA rules so it was a simple re-writing into a new regulatory framework. The legal status of the rules was changed as was the terminology but fundamentally they were the same.

What has happened on the Ops side is it’s moved into a new regulatory legal system and into a totally reformatted regulatory structure, along with all of the Parts and the Sub-parts and the Guidance Material. There is a lot more emphasis being placed on the Operators to demonstrate their means of compliance with the regulation. In the future, for example, Compliance Statements and Declarations will need to be made to the Authorities to demonstrate full EASA Operational Requirement compliance.

Other new and significant changes for the Ops sector include documentation, in the re-vamping of manuals and the introduction of a number new concepts such as Fatigue Risk Management (FRMS), and Safety Management Systems (SMS).

What can Operators do right now?

My advice is to become familiar with the new EASA rulemaking structure and with the new legal structure of the Requirements. Understand what the new regulations mean to you and start assessing the impact it will have on your business so that you can start to manage your transition to demonstrate compliance with the new regulatory structure.

Gaining an understanding of how the new regulations are structured is crucial. It is a complex and multi-layered structure and identifying what applies to you early on is key to ensuring a smooth transition to the new standard; enabling you to plan and establish your own roadmap to not only making sure you and your organisation are compliant by the deadline but so that you can make the new standard work for your organisation by reaping its potential commercial benefits.

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