EASA puts forward new rules for air operations

  • by Paul Dickens
  • 09 Dec, 2016

Pilot mental fitness

EASA published today a proposal to the European Commission on new operational rules to better support pilot mental fitness. EASA’s proposal is part of its Action Plan following the Germanwings Flight 9525 accident .

Released in a document known as an Opinion ( Opinion 14/2016 ) , the proposals include the following new requirements:

  • Ensuring that all pilots have access to a support programme ;
  • Mandating airlines to perform a psychological assessment of pilots before the start of employment;
  • Introducing systematic Drug & Alcohol (D&A) testing of flight and cabin crew upon employment, after a serious incident or accident, with due cause (i.e. following reasonable suspicion), as well as
  • Unannounced D&A testing after rehabilitation and return to work;
  • As an additional safety barrier for airlines which are not already subject to a national programme for psychoactive substance testing: mandatory random alcohol screening of flight and cabin crew within the EU RAMP inspection programme .

These requirements are contained in the so-called Air OPS Implementing Rules. The proposed rules have been subject to consultation with all stakeholders concerned. As part of a total system approach, they complement the proposals EASA issued in August of this year , on the update of medical requirements for pilots (Part-MED).

The proposals address relevant safety recommendations made after the Flight 9525 accident by the EASA-led Task Force, as well as by the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA).

Next steps:

The EASA Opinion will serve as the basis for a legislative proposal by the European Commission in the course of 2017. To support the implementation of the new rules, EASA has prepared draft guidance material (so-called Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material - AMC/GM), annexed to the Opinion. The final AMC/GM will be published when the new rules have been adopted by the Commission.

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