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EU And US Sign Aviation Safety Agreement

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

02 July 2008


Aviation relations between the European Community and the United States were further strengthened on 30th June with a new agreement on aviation safety.

With the mutual recognition of aviation safety certificates, the agreement will result in better harmonised safety systems on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as less cumbersome technical and administrative procedures for the recognition of certificates. It is expected that this will entail further improvement in safety levels and reduce costs by several millions of euros every year for European and US manufacturers alike. The European Commission called for these savings to be passed on to passengers in the form of lower fares.

"The agreement is a historical milestone not only because it is the first aviation safety agreement the European Community has concluded with a third country, but also because of its impact on aviation safety on a global scale", declared European Commission Vice-President in charge of Transport, Antonio Tajani.

The EU and US have among the best aviation safety records in the world: less than 0.6 accidents per million of departures between 1996-2005. However, both partners want to improve this further by working together.

The agreement specifically provides for joint participation in the inspection of civil aviation authorities and undertakings, for cooperation and assistance in any investigation or enforcement proceeding and on the exchange of safety data, including data on accidents and incidents. The agreement also foresees mutual recognition of aviation safety certificates obtained through shortened product approval procedures and mutual acceptance of products tests. In turn, EU and US citizens will benefit from harmonised safety systems, as well as faster and less costly technical and administrative procedures for the recognition of certificates.

According to the EU, the economic returns for European Community and US manufacturers will represent millions of Euros in annual savings thanks to shorter product approval procedures and the mutual acceptance of product tests. It says that this will, in turn, facilitate exchanges and healthier competition. Airlines will also benefit, since the agreement provides for the use of each others approved repair and maintenance facilities.

The EC also plans to pursue this approach with Canada in October, thus boosting safety in the entire North Atlantic area, through the cooperation of the world's three major players in aviation and avionics manufacturing.


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