On 15 March, the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) convened its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Eurocontrol in Brussels, welcoming representatives from its current membership base of 476. This year’s theme was “From Vision to Reality” as the Association 1) compared objectives it set five years ago with what it has achieved to date and 2) outlined steps to meet the many regulatory challenges still confronting the business aviation community.
Goals set in 2007 included EBAA’s intent to develop and promote industry standards, which to date have included full cooperation in promoting the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) and the Safety Management System (SMS) toolkit, plus development of an EBAA Emergency Response Planning (ERP) Guidance Manual. All of these tools, available on a non-profit basis to members, are supported by informative and practical workshops, held regularly at locations across Europe to facilitate member access.
Five years ago EBAA also set out to establish a range of technical committees that focus on specific developments greatly impacting operations in the region. Currently these include committees for Transatlantic Issues, Security, Slots, Flight Time Limitations (FTL), the Environment and an Airports Handling and Ground Operations Committee (AHGOC). EBAA announced that it was pleased to have received excellent nominations for operational experts to represent it in continued EASA OPS rulemaking activity on commercial and noncommercial operations, and in the EASA Airport Operations Working Group.
EBAA has also sought to increase opportunities for members to network and share best practices. This was most recently demonstrated at its highly successful ‘One Europe’ Regional Forum in Vienna. In January, forum participants outlined concrete actions to address the many operational challenges raised during the meeting, and currently small focus teams of EBAA members are being assigned to each action point in order to draft official positions to be approved and adopted by the Association.
During the AGM, members suggested additional areas in which EBAA could assist the operator community, to include expanding the Association’s campaign against illegal charter flights, running a third edition of the European Business Aviation Salary Survey, establishing a regulatory help desk for members, getting more actively involved in supporting airport development initiatives, and rolling out the EBAA Handling Agents Code of Practice, with an accompanying accreditation program.
“Our Annual General Meeting is something members look forward to every year because it provides yet another opportunity for a candid exchange of ideas to help improve not only how the Association serves its membership, but also how we as a community can better influence rulemaking,” says Brian Humphries, EBAA President and CEO.
During the AGM’s afternoon session, members received high-level briefings from:
Environment Unit Manager, Andrew Watt, and his team of Eurocontrol Aviation Environmental Specialists, Antonio Astorino and Franck Montoya, describing the latest developments in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) Support Facility, how it works and how it will help small emitters cope with monitoring, reporting and verification obligations;
Pascal Dias, Eurocontrol Head of Deployment Coordination who highlighted new developments inside Eurocontrol’s agency and deadlines for Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Systems for Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM);
Willy Sigl, EASA Operations Officer and Focal Point for Business Aviation, who provided an update on new FTL and OPS rules, including the latest regarding commercial and non-commercial operations.
“These briefings are invaluable,” explains Pedro Vicente Azua, EBAA Chief Operating Officer, who oversees Regulatory & Government Affairs, Policy and Strategy Development.
“As an Association we regularly provide EBAA members with intelligence reports and regulatory alerts outlining the latest developments in the ever-changing European landscape, but events like our AGM offer members a chance to ask their questions and voice their concerns directly to representatives of the various authorities. Such an opportunity is priceless.”