A European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Management Board on Sept. 20 formally endorsed a government-industry developed General Aviation Safety Strategy that calls for a close look at how general aviation is regulated in Europe.

The board had worked on the strategy with a number of general aviation industry groups since March, developing the formal proposal in June. The strategy includes a number of recommendations for improving general aviation regulations, some of which already are under way, others on the drawing board.

A key thesis is the acknowledgment that the regulation of noncommercial general aviation must be separated from commercial air transport. The strategy stresses the need for more flexible regulations that take a risk-based approach and are proportional to general aviation.

The strategy includes specific recommendations such as changes to the EASA Basic Regulation 216/2008, which was primarily based on requirements for air transport operations but is the basic aviation safety framework. “Some of the key problems facing GA stem directly from this document, and have limited EASA’s own ability to find solutions for our industry,” according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, which joined other aviation groups, including the AeroSpace & Defence Industries Association of Europe and its general aviation manufacturing group EGAMA, in praising the EASA endorsement.

The strategy also complements initiatives such as the international group looking at Part 23 rules covering the certification of light airplanes, GAMA adds.

“This paper reflects many longstanding concerns of the GA community, and aims at pressing the reset button on how GA is regulated by authorities across Europe,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce says.

But he warns that the strategy “is only the start of a process, rather than the solution itself. It is vital that the problems which are identified are addressed swiftly, with the necessary changes implemented as soon as possible.”

EGAMA Chairman Nicolas Chabbert agrees. “We need to see rapid incorporation of these principles into the rulemaking and implementation processes so that regulations may be clearly measured against this standard,” says Chabbert, who is also president and CEO of Socata North America. “It is important that both the European Commission and Parliament show they are serious about these changes by stepping forward and endorsing the strategy.”