The August 14, 2016 Part-NCC adoption and the November 26, 2016 deadline for EASA Third Country Operators (TCO) Guidelines have come and gone. It’s been our experience that there is still much confusion or, at the very least some lack of clarity, as to which operators will be required to comply with Part-NCC and/or Part-TCO.
1. Part 135 operators
Get up to speed on InFO 16018, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Third Country Operators (TCO) Authorization
If you’re a Part 135 or other non-EASA member commercial operator doing business in Europe, and landing at any EASA airport, then you definitely must fulfill the requirements found at https://www.easa.europa.eu/easa-and-you/air-operations/tco-third-country-operators. You can also get more information and apply online at the same web address. TCO requires that operators have a GOM, which must include SMS and dangerous goods procedures, among others. For commercial operators merely overflying the EU, compliance is not required.
2. Part 91 or other non-EASA member private operators
Read up on EASA NCC (Regulation (EU) No 965/2012, Annex VI)
For Part 91 or other non-EASA private operators, some of this summer’s Part-NCC requirements may apply if you are subject to the new EASA Part NCC guidelines. For instance, if you have a base in an EASA member country or operational control resides there in some form, you should take measures to comply with Part-NCC. It’s important to be aware that the EASA authorities are conducting ramp checks more frequently to make sure anyone who needs to follow these guidelines are doing so.
In principle, it may be a good idea to take this opportunity to formalize your operation by developing an FOM/GOM, IOM (International Procedures Manual), and an SMS program, and making sure you have an MEL specific to your aircraft rather than simply operating with an MMEL approved for MEL use. These are the fundamental elements that will be looked for and you should be able to demonstrate that you have them in place.
3. Managed aircraft – or private flights operated by commercial operators
Operational control is increasingly being scrutinized, particularly in cases where commercial operators are conducting private flights. The SAO authorizations that are carried on those flights may or may not satisfy the inspectors in EASA member countries. It may be a good idea to take this opportunity to formalize your documentation by developing an FOM/GOM, IOM, SMS program and MEL specific to your aircraft. Developing these does not preclude anyone from continuing to operate under a management company. Management companies continue to provide valuable services, but being able to provide such documentation to inspectors could avoid embarrassing delays.
The important thing to take away is to make sure you’re on top of whether or not you need to do anything additional to continue operating in compliance with these new EASA regulations to ensure your trips run smoothly.