EASA Begins Search For New Executive Director

Patrick Ky
Patrick Ky speaks at the Berlin Aviation Summit in 2018.
Credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has begun the search for a successor to Executive Director Patrick Ky, who is to step down later this year after a decade in the role.

The European Commission (EC) posted a job vacancy for the Cologne, Germany-based role Feb. 3. Candidates have until March 3 to apply for the post, which begins Sept. 1.

The EASA role is a five-year posting, with the possibility of an extension for a further five years.

The job description specifies that the new executive director will be appointed by EASA’s management board on the basis of a shortlist provided by the EC. The successful candidate will be EASA’s third head; Ky and his predecessor each served 10 years at the helm of the agency, which was created in 2003.

That shortlist will be established through a process that includes a preselection panel, interviews—including with the EC’s Consultative Committee on Appointments (CCA)—and further assessments before a final shortlist of the most suitable candidates is communicated to EASA’s management board, which may decide on further interviews before making a decision.

Candidates could also be required to deliver a statement before the relevant committee or committees of the European Parliament.

Ky took over as EASA’s executive director Sept. 1, 2013, and has overseen the evolution of EASA’s role in European aviation since then.

In 2018, the Council of the European Union adopted updated aviation safety rules for Europe. That included a new mandate for EASA, which consolidated its scope, including formalizing EASA’s role in the domain of drones and urban air mobility.

At the time, Ky said: “In a sector facing unprecedented technological transformation, it was important to provide EASA with the proper tools and legal foundation to support the development of the aviation industry in particular in domains like drones and digitalization. At the same time we need to preserve the European society aspirations for a safer and environmentally friendly world.”

The regulation also enlarged EASA’s role in areas such as in environmental protection, research and development and international cooperation, and gave EASA a coordinating role in cybersecurity in aviation.

When he was re-elected for his second five-year term in 2018, Pekka Henttu, chair of EASA’s management board, said: “Patrick is the best man for the job. He has demonstrated a great sense of leadership over the last five years to position EASA as the pivotal element of the European aviation system.”

Before his appointment at the helm of EASA, Ky served as the executive director of the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking. Before that he worked at the French Civil Aviation Authority and Eurocontrol. He took over from Patrick Goudou, who had been executive director since its creation in September 2003.

Helen Massy-Beresford

Based in Paris, Helen Massy-Beresford covers European and Middle Eastern airlines, the European Commission’s air transport policy and the air cargo industry for Aviation Week & Space Technology and Aviation Daily.