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Civil aviation and the European Aviation Safety Agency


Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 – common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Aviation Safety Agency



Its main aim is to set out the main rules and principles to establish and maintain a high uniform level of civil aviation safety in Europe, including the creation of a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Common safety rules offer a uniform level of requirements for operators*, manufacturers and aviation personnel. This in turn enables the free movement of products, persons and services in the EU market and allows for mutual recognition by EU countries of certificates*. This reduces the administrative burden and workload for the national authorities and the industry.

The regulation also seeks to:

  • ensure a high level of environmental protection,
  • facilitate free movement of goods, persons and services,
  • promote cost-efficiency in the regulatory and certification* processes.


This EU law applies to the design, production, maintenance and operation of aeronautical product parts and equipment, as well as to personnel and organisations involved in these activities.

One of the main means of achieving the above objectives is through the establishment of EASA. The law sets out the tasks, internal structure, working methods and final requirements of the Agency.

The main tasks of EASA include:

  • adopting opinions on civil aviation safety in Europe,
  • supporting the European Commission on measures to implement the law including those relating to technical matters such as construction and design,
  • conducting inspections and investigations necessary for it to fulfil its tasks.

Regarding internal structure, the law sets out the main rules of the agency including legal status, the powers and composition of the Management Board, and the powers and functions of the Executive Director.

In addition to EASA, the law sets out common rules for aviation safety including:

  • airworthiness: requiring aircraft to have a valid airworthiness certificate including specific certificates for products, parts and aircraft design,
  • environmental protection: requiring compliance of aircraft products, parts and appliances with relevant EU and global environmental protection provisions,
  • flight crew certification: requiring pilots to hold an appropriate licence and medical certificate and training organisations to hold appropriate certificates,
  • aerodromes and air traffic control: requiring certificates guaranteeing the safety of aerodromes* and the holding of appropriate certificates by air traffic controllers.

A range of related matters are also addressed by the law. They include oversight and enforcement, recognition of certificates and acceptance of non-EU certificates.


It entered into force on 8 April 2008.



* Operator: any legal or natural person, operating or proposing to operate 1 or more aircraft.

* Certificate: any approval, licence or other document issued as the result of certification.

* Certification: any form of recognition that a product, part or appliance, organisation or person complies with the applicable requirements. It also covers the issuing of the relevant certificate attesting that compliance.

* Aerodrome: any place where flight operations can take place ranging from landing strips to large international airports.


Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008 on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Aviation Safety Agency, and repealing Council Directive 91/670/EEC, Regulation (EC) No 1592/2002 and Directive 2004/36/EC (OJ L 79, 19.3.2008, pp. 1–49)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference only.


Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 on common rules in the field of civil aviation security and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2320/2002 (OJ L 97, 9.4.2008, pp. 72–84)

last update 30.11.2015