EASA to ease airworthiness management constraint for group fleets
September 22, 2021
Europe’s aviation safety regulator is seeking to amend rules on managing continuing airworthiness of fleets, with the aim of removing barriers to management for all aircraft operating within a carrier group. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has set out proposals to change the regulations in a formal opinion which will be submitted to the European Commission. Carriers licensed under EU regulations need to have their own continuing airworthiness management organisation approved as part of the air operator’s certificate for the aircraft they operate. But EASA says this obstructs implementation of a common airworthiness system for all aircraft within a carrier group, resulting in duplication of tasks and prevention of short-term interoperability of aircraft between different AOC holders. “These barriers are more significant nowadays due to the evolution of the business model of the EU air carriers into air carrier business groupings,” it says. The result is “complex” operational arrangements between different airworthiness management organisations that report to a single executive board, adds EASA, and potential regulatory differences in interpretation of processes within the same group. Some carriers, it says, believe the situation creates a “competitive disadvantage” against non-EU operators that are not subject to the same legal constraints. EASA claims the proposed amendment aims to reduce the regulatory burden and increase cost-efficiency, cutting duplication and increasing fleet interoperability – improvements which will contribute to a quicker recovery of the aviation industry while maintaining safety levels. “It will foster the international competitiveness of the EU air carrier business groupings,” it states. The amendments amount to an “evolution” of concepts including contracts between operators and airworthiness organisations, collaborative information exchange between national authorities, and mutual recognition. As part of the proposed changes, says EASA, at least two carriers forming part of the same business group can use the same airworthiness organisation within the group – with a contract established if an operator is not itself approved as such.

USA to ease restrictions on inbound international travel
September 21, 2021
Beginning in November, the USA, will lift quarantine restrictions for non-essential travellers arriving in the nation who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, giving hope to airlines for a resurgence of international travel following a similar policy decision in Canada. Travellers to the USA will need to provide proof of vaccination and recent negative Covid-19 test results before boarding a flight to that country, the White House's Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said on 20 September. The USA decided on this strategy after consulting for months with working groups that vetted options within US agencies and with other governments to create "equitable and clear policy", White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on 20 September during a briefing. "The older rules were not equitable in our view and were a bit confusing," Psaki says. The USA's easing of travel restrictions follows the Council of the European Union's 30 August removal of the USA from its list of countries for which restrictions on non-essential travel should be lifted, 10 weeks after adding the country to the list. "The [Biden] administration’s decision to safely expand international travel to the United States is welcome news for our customers and United is ready to implement these new requirements," United Airlines stated on 20 September in response the news of the USA's easing of inbound international travel restrictions. US and European carriers throughout the summer months have been eagerly awaiting just such an announcement. Canada in September also began lifting restrictions on non-essential travel for people who are fully vaccinated. The White House on 26 July had said that the USA would keep Covid-19 travel restrictions in place for arrivals from the UK and the European Union, despite Europe having better success than the USA at both vaccinating its overall population and in battling the rise in infections caused by the delta variant of Covid-19. A few weeks earlier, on 15 July, US president Joe Biden said during a press conference that his Covid-19 advisers were assessing “how soon we can lift the ban" on non-essential travellers from Europe "within the next several days”.

Vietnam's regulator proposes to clear 737 Max for flight
September 21, 2021
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam is proposing to lift a ban on Boeing 737 Max aircraft operations to and from the country. Based on the evaluation of other aviation authorities and the "safety index of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft after being licensed to operate again", the CAAV has asked that the transport ministry allow it to "carry out the necessary procedures" to resume operations and to recertify the aircraft type in Vietnam, it says in a statement issued today. The CAAV says it has been working with Boeing on the resumption of Max operations in Vietnam. Data shows that none of the Vietnamese airlines currently operate 737 Max jets, although VietJet has orders for 200. In April, Vietnam's transport ministry certified the Max for airspace transit. Then, the ministry had requested that CAAV monitor Russia, Australia and China's aviation authorities, with the CAAV saying it would propose the lifting of the ban once those countries allowed the Max to operate. Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority lifted its suspension in February. China and Russia have yet to certify the type for operations. In Asia-Pacific, Japan, India, Malaysia and Singapore have allowed Max operations to resume. CAAV says in its statement that according to updated information from Boeing, 178 of 195 aviation authorities around the world have lifted the ban on operations of the type. "The aviation authorities of China and Indonesia are expected to lift the ban [on the 737 Max] this September," the regulator states. The 737 Max was grounded in March 2019, following two fatal crashes within six months. FAA lifted its grounding order in November 2020 while EASA gave its formal approval in January.


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