Ecorys Evaluates Air Accident Investigation Legislation

Client: The Directorate-General Mobility and Transport of the European Commission | Sectors: Transport and Infrastructure

Statistics suggest aviation safety has been improving over the years as indicated by a steady reduction of the number of accidents. This has been realised in Europe and internationally by a broad range of legislative and technical measures.

The thorough investigation of accidents and incidents that have occurred and the dissemination of the lessons learnt to prevent future accidents, is a key element in achieving the high safety performance now being seen in aviation. European rules for air transport accident and incident investigation were revised in 2010 with the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 996/2010. 

The Directorate-General Mobility and Transport of the European Commission invited Ecorys and its partner, the Netherlands Aerospace Centre NLR, to provide an independent and evidence-based evaluation of Regulation (EU) No 996/2010 to assess whether the main objectives had been achieved since coming into force. The study team was supported by Prof. Pablo Mendes de Leon of Leiden University.

The main conclusion was that the combination of co-regulation and voluntary cooperation measures required by the Regulation (EU) No 996/2010 led to better safety investigations, resulting in improved aviation safety. The European Network of Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authorities (ENCASIA), in which the national Safety Investigation Authorities (SIAs) of most Member States are actively participating, is considered to be one of the most effective elements brought by the regulation. However, there is still room for further enhancement of safety investigations. This can be achieved by strengthening the role of ENCASIA and by improving the implementation of the regulation at Member State level. 

The main conclusion was for five specific evaluation criteria. Based on the evaluation study, the European Commission started its decision-making process on a possible revision of the Regulation. 

The full evaluation report has been published by the European Commission on 30 August 2018 (click here). 

Key Experts

Geert Smit Principal Consultant