EASA Regulation

Insider — 16.12.18 BY Giulia Mauri

EASA New Basic Regulation has come into effect, aiming to enhance competitiveness in the EU aviation sector and encourage innovation.

EASA New Basic Regulation has come into effect, aiming to enhance competitiveness in the EU aviation sector and encourage innovation.

The new EASA basic regulation (regulation 2018/1139) entered into force on 11th September 2018. This new regulation is a very significant step (but by no means the last one) of a long process that started in 2015 when the Commission published its Aviation Strategy for Europe. In its Aviation Strategy, the Commission advocated that the regulatory framework must include the integration of new business models and emerging technologies, such as electric engines or drones as well as a more proportionate approach to regulation, and a recognition of differences in risks involved in various sectors of civil aviation.

The Commission also indicated that the regulatory framework must provide more regulatory flexibility making better use of available resources at EU and Member States level.

The new regulation repeals regulation 216/2008 that had put in place commons rules for the safety in aviation and had created EASA.


The new basic regulation of EASA aims to enhance competitiveness in the EU aviation sector and encourage innovation. Its purposes are also to harmonise the rules among member states in matters concerning air mobility as well as digitalisation and civil drones. Moreover, this new regulation deals with the growth of air traffic, increases security and data protection, and reduces costs, delays and the impact of air traffic on the environment.

Main changes

The main changes of the new basic regulation can be summarised as follows:

  • Extension of the scope

If Member States opt in, the new regulation applies to aircraft carrying out military, customs, search and rescue, border control, fire fighting and coastguard or similar services undertaken in the public interest. These operations were expressly excluded from the scope of application of the previous regulation.

  • Strengthening of EASA’s competencies

In order to support further harmonisation and standardisation of aviation safety regulations across Europe, the role of EASA has been extended to research and development, environmental protection, coordinating the role in cyber security in aviation and international cooperation. Unmanned aircraft and ground handling service providers are new competencies of the agency.

Furthermore, the EASA’s structure is modified. For instance, an Executive Board is created to assist the Management Board and the Executive Director.

  • Harmonised rules applicable to drones

This regulation innovates by being the first EU-wide piece of legislation for civil drones.

It creates three types of risk-based categories for drones. Proportional rules apply for each type of drone. Higher-risk drone operations require certification, while drones presenting the lowest risk will simply need to conform to the normal EU market surveillance mechanisms. A threshold of 80 joules of kinetic energy upon impact with a person has been determined for the registration of drones by the operators.

The noise and emissions generated by drones are also regulated. The regulation allows Member States to designate certain parts of their airspace as being restricted to only certain categories of drones.

  • Cooperation between member states

The transfer of responsibilities is now planned in the regulation and information sharing and, in particular, setting up of a central repository of licensing information is allowed.

  • Role of the EU commission

The powers of the Commission concerning the adoption of implementing rules are extended and inversely, the powers conferred on the European Parliament are reduced.

  • Other

New tools that support the implementation of simple and proportionate rules for sport and recreational aviation are provided for in this regulation.

A big step

To conclude, we have to recognise that this piece of legislation is a big step in the area of safety of aviation. Major industries such as Drones Manufacturers Alliance Europe (DMAE) and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) welcome this revision of the regulation. Pursuant to the President of GAMA, “This is a unique opportunity to reflect the Agency’s newfound thinking on the better regulation of general aviation in particular.” DMAE adds that it “marks an important step towards the creation of a strong EU-wide market for drones”. However, the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) regrets that the new rules and, in particular, the new definition of Commercial Air transport, are not adapted to the particularities of the business aviation industry.