Europe’s EASA publishes five-year aviation safety plan; ATM focus on conforming to ICAO SARPS

The European Aviation Safety Agency has published its strategic and operational priorities for the next five years, which will mean action on the lack of harmonised rules in air traffic management and air navigation services.

The safety regulator for Europe believes there is still too much deviation from ICAO standards and recommended practices that are intended to assist states in managing aviation safety risks.

EASA point outs that since European legislation aimed at ensuring the interoperability of the European air traffic management network has been repealed, new rules are now designed to ensure that ATM/ANS systems and their constituents are successfully designed, manufactured and installed.

“If not, the achievement of the overall objectives of ATM/ANS may be compromised,” it said, adding that the new legislation requires the inclusion of additional requirements concerning flight procedure design, ATS and AIS/AIM.

Cyber security has been included in the European Plan for Aviation Security for the first time.                                                          The multiplication of network connections and the surge in digitalisation of aviation
systems increases the vulnerability of the whole system. It is essential that the aviation industry and authorities share knowledge and learn from experiences to ensure systems are secure from those with malicious intent.
EASA signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-EU) of the EU institutions in February 2017. EASA and CERT-EU jointly establishing a European Centre for Cyber Security in Aviation (ECCSA) to help protect critical elements of the system such as aircraft, navigation and surveillance systems, datalinks, etc. 
This will head key actions including:
* develop and implement a strategy for cyber security in aviation;
* implement a regulatory framework for cyber security covering all aviation domains;
* introduce new cyber security provisions in certification specifications 

“Safe and cost-efficient ATM/ANS provision also needs to ensure harmonised conformity assessment of their supporting systems and constituents, so that the equipment involved performs as expected during the intended operation.”

EASA said it hoped that after the adoption of these new rules, implementation issues associated with ATM/ANS systems and their constituent parts should decrease, especially those related to lack of interoperability and performance that may have an impact on operations.

This is EASA’s eighth edition of the European Plan for Aviation Safety (EPAS) and sets out the strategic and operational priorities for safety and environmental protection for the next five years. As such, it is a key component of the European Aviation Safety Programme (EASP) and aims to provide a coherent and transparent framework for European states to manage aviation safety, both at regional and at national level.

More generally, in commercial air transport and business aviation, aircraft upset in flight (loss of control), and runway excursions, incursions and collisions are identified as the most important risk areas.

Human performance, pilot competence, and the often complex processes that lead to an accident require a continued but also increased focus on human factors and safety management. Rotorcraft operations, general aviation, drones, as well as threats related to cyber security in aviation and flying too close to conflict zones are also addressed.

The plan’s safety priorities and concrete actions are based on the safety data and information that is continually gathered and processed at the European level. Main sources for these include the EASA Annual Safety Review, the EASA Standardisation Annual Report, and the Air Traffic Management (ATM) Master Plan.