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EP Transport Committee Told Of Plans For Tougher Aircraft Inspections

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

12 September 2008


European Transport Commissioner, Antonio Tajani, told the European Parliament on Tuesday that the Commission plans "to look closely at some European airlines".

Mr Tajani was appearing before the EP Transport Committee to report on updates in Community law on air safety, in the wake of the accident at Madrid's Barajas airport.

He promised that a minimum number of annual inspections would be made in each Member State, and that checks on Europe's airlines would be tightened up.

Mr Tajani stressed the importance of the Community programme "Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft" (SAFA), and stated that 54% of the planes inspected in the EU in 2007 under this programme belonged to European companies.

Last year a total of 7,376 runway inspections were made, nearly double the number in 2004 (3,993), he revealed.

Moreover, Tajani stated that:

"The Commission's services are working to introduce a minimum number of inspections each year in every Member State".

The Commissioner also highlighted the need to distinguish between fair competition and the lowering of safety standards, arguing that "no form of fair competition justifies weakening safety guarantees for Europe's citizens".

Additionally, he emphasised the need to review existing Community legislation on air safety, giving two examples: the 1994 directive establishing fundamental principles governing the investigation of civil aviation accidents and incidents, and the June 2003 directive on occurrence reporting in civil aviation.

Mr Tajani also spoke of the Commission's planned Single European Sky legislation, which will strengthen the powers of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) over procedures for certifying airport safety and granting pilot licences.

It will also enable the EASA to work more closely with national aviation authorities when investigating accidents.


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