EASA has published its Final Report on the study carried out on the regulation of ground de-icing and anti-icing services in EASA member states.
Born out of a large number of events of stiff or frozen flight control systems during the winters of 2005 and 2006 and the subsequent Safety Recommendations made by the UK Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) and the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU), followed by the conclusions of a 2006 Industry-wide ERA/JAA Winter Operations Workshop which addressed the issues surrounding fluid residues and de-icing/anti-icing standards, an study commissioned by EASA was carried out.
The Study’s scope was to investigate and recommend the means by which Aviation Authorities manage matters with respect to the certification of service providers and the availability of de-icing/anti-icing fluids. Its aim was to make recommendations for improvements of service provision and the availability of Type I fluids.
EASA considers that the Study has been successful overall with regard to practical recommendations to raise standards and improve safety, but it falls short of recommending provision of Type I fluid, claiming that further data collection is required due to some conflicting survey results. However, service providers are encouraged to provide Type I and/or two-step procedures if demanded by operators. Equally, direct regulation of service providers has been excluded at this stage but may be considered as a future option.
The report presents 26 Recommendations that have been assessed for their impacts concerning safety, economic, environmental, social and the regulatory framework. If adopted, EASA states that the Recommendations would generate a beneficial reduction in the risks associated with de-icing/anti-icing and that the improvements to the regulations would have a positive effect on the safety of other ground handling activities.
The Study recommends that EASA develops a targeted work programme which, if undertaken, would see generally higher de-icing/anti-icing operational standards within two years, harmonized more broadly across Member States. The six areas recommended for actions are:
- improving coordination between Industry and the Aviation Authorities;
- collecting more safety data and analyzing the existing risks;
- ensuring regulations and guidance for air operations are comprehensive, unambiguous and practical;
- conducting oversight activities to ascertain whether regulations are being harmoniously and consistently applied across Europe;
- consider alternative regulatory means to support operators to achieve acceptable service levels from their providers, and to facilitate aerodromes and service providers in ensuring this;
- engaging with all stakeholders to ensure that more focused research is conducted, and data gathered, into fluid qualities and performance.