The objective of the European Aviation Safety Programme is to ensure that the system for the management of aviation safety in the European Union (EU) delivers a safety performance that is the best of any world region, uniformly enjoyed across the whole Union, and continuing to improve over time. In doing so the EU will use, as a measurement of success, the rate of fatal accidents per 10 million flights per world region.
The strategy for aviation safety in the EU for the coming years was established by the European Commission in a Communication to the Council and the European Parliament called Setting up an Aviation Safety Management System for Europe.
In order to further improve the already good safety record that exists in the civil aviation industry, ICAO has promoted the principles of safety management. These principles revolve around the implementation of a Safety Management System (SMS) in industry organisations and a State Safety Programme (SSP) in Contracting States.
In Europe, EASA, the EU Member States, the European Commission, the Performance Review Body and EUROCONTROL have decided to add a pro-active element to the current EU aviation safety system and work collaboratively to develop the European Aviation Safety Programme (EASP).
The sharing of roles between the EU and the Member States, as described in the EASA Basic Regulation, makes it necessary for the Member States to work together with EASA to fully implement the SSP. Production of an EU equivalent of an SSP - an European Aviation Safety Programme (EASP) - is a more efficient means of discharging this obligation and would support the EU Members and associated States in developing their own SSPs.
The EASP is shaped as a Commission staff working paper accompanying the Communication by the EC and was prepared jointly by the Commission and EASA. It describes the integrated set of regulations at EU level, together with the activities and processes used to jointly manage safety at European level. In doing so it addresses the main areas of an SSP as follows:
- European safety policies and objectives
- European safety risk management
- European safety assurance, and
- European safety promotion.
The Communication, spelling out the main goals; the European Aviation Safety Programme (EASP), describing the EU safety framework, and the European Plan for Aviation Safety (EPAS) detailing progress made in addressing identified safety risks at EU level and updated every year by EASA, constitute the main elements of the Safety Management System at European level.