EASA specified requirements for National Aviation Authorities (Competent Authorities) and Qualified Entities

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The Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA) of the European Union (EU) Member States, as well as their industries, are subject to requirements published by the European Commission (EC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). In addition, those countries beyond the European Union which have modelled their civil aviation regulatory framework based on the EU regulations will also find value in adopting, adapting, and complying with the intent of these requirements. Navigating and keeping up to date with the regulation structure can be quite overwhelming and demanding on resources. This is because of the constant revisions and amendments, and the large volume of regulatory material, with some documents containing over 1600 pages of requirements, acceptable means of compliance and guidance material.

In this article, we focus on a specific subset of these requirements, namely the Authority Requirements (AR). These requirements apply to the ‘Competent Authority’ and cover each domain, e.g. initial and continued airworthiness, air operations, air traffic controllers, aerodromes etc. CAAs have an obligation to perform oversight on all licensed persons and approved organisations in their national aviation system, and will be audited by EASA as part of its oversight of the total European aviation system.

Competent authority

Within the EU regulatory framework, the EC has introduced the concept of the “National Competent Authority”. This is defined in the EASA Basic Regulation as “one or more entities designated by a Member State and having the necessary powers and allocated responsibilities for performing the tasks related to certification, oversight and enforcement”. The competent authority is normally the CAA (also known as National Aviation Authority – NAA) of the EU/EASA Member State.

Qualified Entity

The EASA Basic Regulation, in its Article 69, also provides for certain safety oversight tasks to be delegated to “qualified entities”. EASA, or a competent authority, may accredit a suitably qualified entity and grant it a privilege to issue, renew, amend, limit, suspend and revoke certificates, or to receive declarations, on behalf of the Agency or of the competent authority. A Qualified Entity (QE) may also conduct safety oversight on behalf of the EASA or a competent authority.

Authority Requirements: “AR”

The majority of the EASA regulations have a similar structure, whereby the prefix ‘AR’ or a similar abbreviation in the title of the requirement (e.g. “ARO.GEN.200 Management System”) indicates that the requirement is targeted at the competent authority or to the EASA.

This same nomenclature is also used in the Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Materials (GM). If you want to get a good understanding of this structure, you can read one of the ‘easy access rules’ documents published by EASA. In such documents each section contains a requirement and its related AMC and GM.


Let’s look at an example taken from the easy access rules for air operations. The authority requirement can be found in ANNEX II (Part-ARO). This annex is subdivided in the following subparts: general requirements (GEN), air operations (OPS) and ramp inspections (RAMP). One such requirement is ‘ARO.OPS.100 Issue of the Air Operator Certificate’. We now know that the title already tells us we are looking at an authority requirement in the domain of air operations. The requirement reads “(a) The competent authority shall issue the air operator certificate (AOC) when satisfied that the operator has demonstrated compliance with the elements required in ORO.AOC.100”. The competent authority, or Qualified Entity therefore will have to be satisfied that the applicant meets relevant Operator Requirements (ORO). In addition, the competent authority, or Qualified Entity, must be able to demonstrate to the EASA what systems (e.g. procedures, processes, training etc.) it has in place in order to satisfy itself that the applicant meets the relevant requirements.

Tracking regulations

As EASA regulations are continuously being updated, competent authorities need to stay compliant by tracking new regulations, amendments, repeals and changes to other associated documents such as new AMC and GM.

To minimise the administrative burden, Systemmatic offers modern, efficient IT solutions that provide for ease of tracking regulations and helps to ensure consistent compliance management for aviation authorities and qualified entities.

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