ERA Air Safety Group meeting

Following a successful joint meeting between the ERA Safety and Operations Groups on 13 March, the Safety Group held an individual meeting on 14 March. The meeting was hosted by the European Aviation Safety Agency in Cologne.  

The meeting commenced with a review of the latest Safety Targeted Awareness Report (STAR) which ERA has recently drafted covering the issue of drug and alcohol testing, one of the six recommendations from the EASA-led Germanwings accident Task Force. Additionally, ERA will commence drafting another STAR covering the subject of Peer Support Groups, which was another recommendation from the Task Force.

The latest EASA Safety Information Bulletins (SIBs) and Notice of Proposed Amendments were briefly covered. One of the SIBs related to the transport of damaged, defective or recalled Lithium batteries via air, and Pascal Kremer, Chair of the Safety Group, provided some guidance on tackling lithium battery fires and the risks associated with dangerous goods.

Eduard Ciofu, from the EASA Air Operations Regulations Section, provided the meeting with an update on recent regulatory developments in the area of air operations, and the progress on other rulemaking tasks relevant to ERA members.  This included a detailed overview of the various opinions, decisions and Rulemaking Tasks (RMT) in which the agency has been engaged. Of particular interest to the group was RMT.0700 regarding the implementation of the recommendations made by the EASA-led Germanwings Task Force, and Decision 2016/012/R on FDRs, CVRs and ULDs, published in September 2016. Additionally, there will be further AMC/GM covering aircraft tracking and localisation of aircraft in distress, after ICAO SARPs are finalised during 2017.

Chris Mason, ERA Manager Policy & Technical, provided an overview of several global incidents and accidents involving regional aircraft that had occurred since the previous Safety Group meeting. The incidents included an in-flight engine problem, hard landing, runway excursion, and a ground collision between a taxiing and parked aircraft. This was followed by an update on the recent development regarding the AEA De-Icing/Anti-Icing Work Group. The work group, which has been a focal point for EU standards regarding winter operations for over 30 years, will undergo some changes following the demise of the AEA.  The latest meeting of the group took place in Vienna on 7-8 March 2017, and was structured around the following four topics:

  1. future of the work group following the demise of the AEA;
  2. cost and production of the SAE Global De-Icing Standards;
  3. future publication of Holdover Time (HOT) information; and
  4. which data operators should use now the AEA Recommendations are no longer published.

The group will continue under the umbrella of A4E, with the AEA Recommendations ceasing publication. As such, operators are now advised to follow the SAE Global Standards regarding their Winter Operations for the 2017-18 winter season, and either the FAA or Transport Canada data for HOT information. The work group will lobby EASA during 2017 with the aim of encouraging the agency to produce both EU-centric winter operation guidance and HOT data in the future.

The final part of the meeting was the ‘closed’ safety information discussion session, which observes the Chatham House Rules. Notable safety incidents were discussed, including the following topics:

  • ground handling damage;
  • inadequate aircraft de-icing and corrosive runway de-icing fluids;
  • in-flight medical emergencies;
  • carry-on baggage problems; and
  • unapproved tanking of biofuel.

The group were reminded of the forthcoming Safety Forum, which is an annual event co-hosted between ERA, Eurocontrol and the Flight Safety Foundation.  The event takes place on 6-7 June at Eurocontrol, and will focus on ‘Preventing Runway Collisions’.

The full set of minutes and all of the presentations from the meeting are available to view via the ERA website. The next meeting of the Safety Group will be planned for September.

If members have any questions regarding the ERA Air Safety Group please can they kindly contact: Christopher.mason@eraa.org