EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Civil aviation rules and the EASA

Civil aviation rules and the EASA



Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Union Aviation Safety Agency


It aims to establish a high and uniform level of civil aviation safety while ensuring environmental protection.

It updates aviation safety law and includes:


The regulation covers all key areas of aviation including:

  • airworthiness;
  • aircrews;
  • aerodromes;
  • air operations; and
  • air navigation services.

The regulation:

Main changes and additions

  • The regulation updates EU safety legislation in the aviation sector. Essential requirements are established for aircraft with respect to their airworthiness and environmental compatibility. Manufacturers will be required to issue certificates of airworthiness, in accordance with the technical requirements.
  • It introduces risk- and performance-based rules which set objectives but leave some flexibility as to the means for achieving them. It also promotes taking non-binding measures (such as safety promotion actions) whenever this is possible.
  • It revises the scope of some rules, by excluding small, single occupancy hot-air balloons, adjusting the weight limits for sailplanes, and adding light electric aircraft. It introduces reforms to:
    • deal with the growth of air traffic;
    • increase security;
    • reduce costs, delays and the impact of air traffic on the environment.
  • Cabin crew involved in commercial air transport are subject to certification and should be issued with an attestation. The European Commission has established detailed rules and procedures for the qualification of cabin crew members. The regulation also sets out essential requirements for safe ground handling services, which are now included within the scope of the regulation, and closes a number of other safety gaps.
  • A new chapter on aviation safety management is introduced, establishing the European Aviation Safety Programme, covering the whole aviation safety system.

Civil drones

  • The regulation introduces essential requirements for drones. The rules are meant to be proportionate to the risk of the particular operation or type of operation and state that the drone must be safely controllable and manoeuvrable. It should be designed to fit its function and intended type of operation, and take into account privacy and protection of personal data by design and by default. Identification of the drone and of the nature and purpose of the operation should also be possible.
  • The drone operator should be responsible for its operation and should have knowledge and skills proportionate to operating the drone safely. Organisations involved in drone design, production, maintenance, operations, related services and training, must establish a safety occurrence reporting system.
  • The regulation specifies the registration threshold that applies to drone operators: operators must be registered if they operate drones which can transfer more than 80 Joules of kinetic energy upon impact with a person. This threshold can be amended in the future without lengthy procedures to take account of developments in this area.
  • Depending on the nature and risk of the activity, the operational characteristics of the aircraft and the characteristics of area of operation, a certificate may be required for design, production, maintenance and operation as well as for personnel, including remote pilots.
  • In accordance with the regulation, the Commission, with the help of EASA, drew up Regulation (EU) 2019/947 which lays down detailed rules for drones and for drones’ operation. Regulation (EU) 2020/746 amends Regulation (EU) 2019/947, postponing the dates of application of certain measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pilot licences issued by non-EU countries

Regulation (EU) 2020/723 lays down the detailed rules for the conditions for the acceptance of pilot licences and associated ratings, privileges or certificates, as well as associated medical certificates issued in accordance with laws of non-EU countries.

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

  • The regulation extends EASA’s scope to safety-related aspects of security, such as cybersecurity, and to environmental protection.
  • It establishes a mechanism for the pooling and sharing of aviation inspectors, and other technical assistance to support EU countries in certification, oversight and enforcement tasks.
  • The electronic information repository established by the Agency to ensure effective cooperation between the Agency and the national competent authorities includes information on the reallocation by one EU country to another or to the Agency of responsibilities related to certification, oversight and enforcement, as well as measures concerning flights above conflict zones.


It has applied since 11 September 2018.


See also:


Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2018 on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and amending Regulations (EC) No 2111/2005, (EC) No 1008/2008, (EU) No 996/2010, (EU) No 376/2014 and Directives 2014/30/EU and 2014/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 552/2004 and (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (EEC) No 3922/91 (OJ L 212, 22.8.2018, pp. 1-122)


Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/723 of 4 March 2020 laying down detailed rules with regard to the acceptance of third-country certification of pilots and amending Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011 (OJ L 170, 2.6.2020, pp. 1-8)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 of 24 May 2019 on the rules and procedures for the operation of unmanned aircraft (OJ L 152, 11.6.2019, pp. 45-71)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2019/947 have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 1321/2014 of 26 November 2014 on the continuing airworthiness of aircraft and aeronautical products, parts and appliances, and on the approval of organisations and personnel involved in these tasks (OJ L 362, 17.12.2014, pp. 1-194)

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EU) No 376/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the reporting, analysis and follow-up of occurrences in civil aviation, amending Regulation (EU) No 996/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Directive 2003/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulations (EC) No 1321/2007 and (EC) No 1330/2007 (OJ L 122, 24.4.2014, pp. 18-43)

See consolidated version.

Directive 2014/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of radio equipment and repealing Directive 1999/5/EC (OJ L 153, 22.5.2014, pp. 62-106)

See consolidated version.

Directive 2014/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to electromagnetic compatibility (recast) (OJ L 96, 29.3.2014, pp. 79-106)

See consolidated version.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 748/2012 of 3 August 2012 laying down implementing rules for the airworthiness and environmental certification of aircraft and related products, parts and appliances, as well as for the certification of design and production organisations (recast) (OJ L 224, 21.8.2012, pp. 1-85)

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EU) No 996/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 on the investigation and prevention of accidents and incidents in civil aviation and repealing Directive 94/56/EC (OJ L 295, 12.11.2010, pp. 35-50)

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community (Recast) (OJ L 293, 31.10.2008, pp. 3-20)

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2005 on the establishment of a Community list of air carriers subject to an operating ban within the Community and on informing air transport passengers of the identity of the operating air carrier, and repealing Article 9 of Directive 2004/36/EC (OJ L 344, 27.12.2005, pp. 15-22)

See consolidated version.

last update 13.07.2020