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Europe's Flight Crew Licensing Vote Postponed Until December

European Commission Demonstrates Support of Industry Objections

The vote on the draft rules for EASA’s proposed Flight Crew Licensing (FCL) has been delayed until mid-December. The European Commission has expressed that it is not ready to support the current draft rules because there is a risk that the EU and United States may not have a mutual recognition procedure for FCL rules in place before the entry into force of the new EASA FCL rules, scheduled for April 2012.

On 6 October, the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) along with the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) sent a letter to the European Commission warning that the proposal to reverse a long-standing reciprocal acceptance policy for pilots' credentials between the EU and US could adversely impact safety. As proposed, the rule would disallow pilots licenses and aircraft N-numbers used in the EU from being obtained in the US or elsewhere, and would instead require that both be obtained through European authorities.

As stated in the industry’s letter:
"In the final draft of part-FCL there is no provision for the conduct of Initial, Re-validation and Renewal of Class/Type ratings outside the Territories of Member States. Currently some 4000 such checks are conducted each year and, clearly provision must be made for the over 300 examiners outside the EU, holding ICAO licenses and appropriate Member State examiner approvals, to continue their work.

"Without this, there will be a highly negative impact on the safety of Business Aviation operations since, of course, many European operators rely on simulator training conducted in Canada or the US.

"Moreover, because so many European business aircraft are manufactured in North America where the biggest Business Aviation fleets are located, to expect the relocation of such activity to Europe to comply with the new rules is completely unrealistic."

At a Committee meeting held on 14 October during which European Member State representatives and the Commission discussed the Flight Crew Licensing (FCL) proposal, the Commission insisted that the vote be postponed until the end of this year in order to allow more time to revise the proposal.

FMI: www.ebaa.org, www.nbaa.org

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