EASA Publishes Part 145 SMS Guidance

Credit: AFI KLM

EASA has published new guidance for complying with the European agency’s mandate that repair stations set up safety management systems (SMS) by late 2024. 

Under regulations adopted last fall and effective Dec. 2, 2022, EASA-certified shops will have a two-year “transition period”—or until Dec. 2, 2024—to set up an SMS and “correct any findings of noncompliance,” the guidance said. 

“It is considered that SMS is a concept that may need to mature over multiple years,” EASA wrote. “Therefore, it is not anticipated that organizations will have a fully operational and effective SMS in the first oversight cycle or at the end of the transition period. However, the minimum level to retain the Part-145 certificate is that the organization can show that the system and procedures are ‘present’ and ‘suitable,’” the agency added. 

Adopted in November 2021, the new rules extend a global push to integrate SMS into aviation organizations. FAA regulations require SMSs for scheduled air carriers and the U.S. agency is in the midst of a years-long process to finalize rules for commercial airports. 

New requirements for manufacturers—another long-planned initiative that has gained new prominence in the wake of ongoing problems with both design and production at Boeing—are also in the works. U.S.-certified repair stations are not required to have SMSs, though some have them as part of an FAA pilot program.

The new EASA regulations do not apply to EASA-certified repair stations located in countries, such as the U.S., that have bilateral agreements with the European Union. But the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) urges all shops to examine the rules and guidance in preparation for future rulemaking. 

“Since SMS is on the horizon for the entire industry, understanding EASA’s SMS requirements for its approved maintenance organizations will facilitate future compliance,” ARSA said.

Sean Broderick

Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.