While air transport remains one of the safest forms of travel, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of aviation like nothing before. In the longer term, the expected increase in air traffic means that our coordinated efforts to improve safety are vital if we want to prevent air accidents from increasing. However, the current aviation safety system is mainly a reactive and prescriptive safety system, in which safety improvements are essentially resulting from technological progresses, compliance with prescriptive regulations and lessons learned from aircraft accidents. A more pro-active system relies on us learning as much as possible about occurrences, risks and hazards that exist - your occurrence reports are a vital part of that process.
Therefore additional actions should be taken to avoid an increased number of fatalities and accidents as air traffic grows in the long term. In that perspective, the European Union and its Member States have started the transition towards a more proactive, evidence-based, risk and performance oriented safety system. Such system requires a systematic and continuous collection of safety information in view for safety hazards to be identified, assessed and addressed. It should work continuously to ensure that any new hazards or risks are rapidly identified and that mitigation actions are implemented and where found ineffective are revised. In addition, in a safety system where the EU and its Member States are aiming to focus available resources on higher risks to ensure a better safety efficiency of measures taken, safety information supports a risk-based oversight of regulated entities.
As it is highlighted in the Commission Communication on "Setting up an Aviation Safety Management System for Europe", the collection, analysis and follow-up of occurrences are a central element of such proactive and evidence-based safety system. This is also reflected at international level, where ICAO rules puts data reporting and analysis systems at the heart of safety management.
In this context, on 3rd April 2014 the European Union has adopted a new legislation: Regulation (EU) No 376/2014 on the reporting, analysis and follow up of occurrences in civil aviation.
Its objective is to ensure that the necessary safety intelligence is available to support the safety management efforts of the whole European Aviation Community. The information provided through the collection and analysis of occurrence reports under this Regulation should allow the industry and the regulators to be informed about the risks they are facing and to take decisions supported with relevant knowledge and information.
Regulation (EU) 376/2014 establishes a framework, across aviation domains and at each level (industry, national and European), to ensure the collection of as complete as possible safety occurrence data and its analysis with a view to support the full spectrum of safety management activities, including the adoption and implementation of mitigation actions where relevant.
The reporting, analysis and follow-up of occurrences is supported by a broader safety risk management process that helps to identify the main safety issues and risks. This process involves continuous dialogue between the industry and their competent authorities and full engagement from all involved - the industry, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Member States- as part of routine safety management activity. This notably includes the provision of feedback and lessons learned to improve safety.
This Regulation aims to ensure that the industry is aware of the risks it is facing and takes relevant measures to mitigate those risks. It should also allow the Member States to be informed about the risks it is facing at national level and to identify national measures that may be necessary to ensure aviation safety from a broader national perspective. In addition, it intends to ensure that the Member States, EASA and the European Commission are collectively informed of the risks faced by the European Union as a whole and may decide, on the basis on joint analysis, the adoption of relevant mitigation actions to maintain or improve the level of aviation safety from a European perspective.