Safety has been one of the cornerstones of the ECAC programme. The Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) were established by ECAC in 1990 in order to set uniform high safety standards within Europe and to unify the then multiple safety aviation certification procedures. After the establishment of the European Safety Aviation Agency (EASA), that took over JAA functions, ECAC safety activities have been reduced in order to prevent overlaps or duplications.
ECAC's Focal Point for Safety is Pekka Henttu, Director General for Civil Aviation, Finland.
Responsability for Safety in the ECAC Secretariat lies with Béatrice Adoléhoumé.
Today, ECAC's safety activities divide into work done in preparation for major international safety events or safety projects and studies, and work in the area of accident and incident investigation.
Some programmes have passed across to the European Union, ECAC continues to be a forum where aviation safety issues are discussed by Directors General, good practice is developed, and - typically in cooperation with the European Commission - common positions are coordinated for global fora, notably ICAO in Montreal. ECAC is also active in promoting European aviation safety philosophy and practice beyond the region's borders, drawing on international regional and bilateral partnerships developed over the years.
The following projects have recently been completed or are presently under way:
• ECAC undertook work to collect and make available up-to-date information about how each of its Member States handles requests for flights by home-built aircraft. The operators of such aircraft presently experience difficulty in establishing clearly the requirements for their operation in the different ECAC States.
• On 18 May 2016, ECAC Directors General adopted Recommendation ECAC/35-1 on the mutual acceptance by ECAC Member States of ‘permits to fly' for specific types of historical aircraft. The aircrafts concerned (approx. 10 000) are usually called ‘Factory National Restricted Permit to Fly (FNRP) aircraft'. They were factory-manufactured, designed before 1 January 1955 and their production ended before 1 January 1975. Previously, they held an ICAO-compliant certificate of airworthiness. Now they operate under national rules as they fall within the scope of Annex II of the EU Regulation (EC) 216/2008 (related to aircraft for which EASA does not have competence). This Recommendation should contribute to sustaining the historical knowledge of the FNRP aircraft, a great interest to many across Europe.
• At the European Search and Rescue Conference (Bucharest, May 2013), ECAC committed itself to promote and support cooperation arrangements within ECAC at sub-regional level, in accordance to Annex 12 to the Chicago Convention, to consolidate an effective Search and Rescue system within ECAC. To this aim, a survey was undertaken on the existing cross-border arrangements with a view of offering possible models of cooperation to ECAC Member States that wished to enter in new SAR cross-border arrangements. (Results of survey)