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 for Finland
Responsability for Safety in the ECAC Secretariat lies with Béatrice Adoléhoumé
Nowadays, ECAC's safety activities divide into work done in preparation for major international safety events, conferences, work on specific safety projects and studies, and work in the area of accident and incident investigation.
Whilst some of its past programmes have passed across to the European Union, ECAC continues to be a forum in which domestic and international aviation safety issues are debated and discussed by Europe's Directors General, good practice is developed, and - typically in concert with the European Commission - European positions are co-ordinated for presentation in global fora, notably at ICAO in Montreal. This last function is especially important in relation to the triennial Sessions of the ICAO Assembly. ECAC is also very active in promoting European aviation safety philosophy and practice beyond the region's borders, drawing on the wide range of international regional and bilateral partnerships, which it has developed over the years.
The following aviation safety projects and studies have recently been completed or are presently under way in ECAC:
• ECAC is undertaking 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.
• During the early part of 2011, an ECAC experts group undertook work to map Search and Rescue coordination in Europe, and to consider the value of strengthening present arrangements. At the European Search and Rescue Conference held in Bucharest in May 2013, ECAC committed itself to promote and to support cooperation arrangements within ECAC at sub-regional level, in accordance to ANNEX 12 to the Chicago Convention, in order to consolidate an effective Search and Rescue system within ECAC. To this aim, a survey was undertaken on the existing cross-border arrangements within ECAC with a view of offering possible models of cooperation to those ECAC Member States that wished to enter in new SAR cross-border arrangements. Results of this survey are available now on this website.
• At their Special Plenary Session held in Paris on 18 May 2016 (ECAC/35), 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 by this Recommendation (approximately 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 aircrafts for which EASA does not have competence). The newly adopted Recommendation should contribute to sustaining the historical knowledge of the FNRP aircrafts, which is of great interest to many across Europe.