ERA attended the latest meeting of the AEA De-Icing/Anti-Icing Work Group, hosted at the Austrian Airlines Training Centre, Vienna Airport, on 7–8 March 2017. The AEA De-Icing/Anti-Icing Work Group has been the focal point for EU standards regarding winter operations for over 30 years. Each work group consists of airlines, manufacturers and ground handling/winter ops providers, and meetings are held on average three times per year.
With the recent demise of the AEA, the meeting was structured around four main topics, namely:
- the future of the group;
- the cost and production of SAE Global Standards;
- future publication of Holdover Time (HOT) information; and
- the future now the AEA Recommendations have ceased publication.
All agreed that the work of the group should continue, and this will be achieved under the umbrella of A4E, with exact terms of reference to be finalised in the coming weeks. ERA enquired why such an important group focussing on a safety-related activity did not fall under the stewardship of EASA. The reason provided was that the current lack of resources and expertise was preventing EASA from taking over such an activity, although this has not been ruled out in the future. Regarding the ‘new’ A4E Work Group, it was confirmed this will be an open group with ERA now becoming a full member.
The publication of the AEA Global Standards came under scrutiny, with concerns expressed over the timeframe of the publications and the cost, which is currently set at US$76.00 per copy, per individual. This is contrary to what was originally agreed of US$76.00 per airline, regardless of the number of copies required. Due to copyright issues the SAE does not allow operators to purchase one copy and make duplicates, so for smaller operators with limited finances this is proving to be an expensive process. These and other concerns of the operators will be raised at the next SAE Steering Committee meeting, planned for 18–26 May in Athens.
With the AEA Recommendations no longer publishing generic HOT information, the group discussed what data operators should now use. With the SAE not planning to publish HOT, and EASA unable too, it was advised operators should utilise either the FAA or Transport Canada tables for the winter season 2017-18. In the interim, the work group will be writing to EASA to express dissatisfaction with this situation and try to persuade the agency to publish HOT data in the future for the winter season 2018-19.
Finally, the future without the AEA Recommendations was discussed, and operators have been advised to refer to the SAE Global Standards, until such a time that either EASA, or a suitable EU-centric alternative is published.
The next meeting of the work group is planned for 12-13 September, in Helsinki.
If members have any questions regarding winter operations please can they kindly contact ERA at Christopher.firstname.lastname@example.org