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ICAO’s standardized runway reporting format has now become applicable
5 November 2021

ICAO’s standardized runway reporting format has now become applicable

The ICAO Global Reporting Format (GRF) for assessing and reporting runway surface conditions, became applicable worldwide on 4 November 2021.
This harmonization of the assessment and reporting of runway surface conditions is intended to mitigate the risk of runway excursions, which continues to be the most common form of aviation accidents.
It will also benefit efficiency and sustainability, through a better planning of contaminant removal and the more effective use of de-icing and other treatments.

The GRF comprises a number of elements:

  • A harmonized matrix through which a trained observer allocates runway condition codes and descriptors;
  • A Runway Condition Report (RCR) containing the above information, which is transmitted to flight crew;
  • The flight crew’s correlation of the RCR with aircraft performance data, enabling them to calculate their take-off or landing performance; and
  • A facility for flight crew to provide observations of runway surface conditions.

ICAO reports that the implementation of the GRF is still on-going in many States.

South African CAA again suspends CemAir Air Operator Certificates over safety concerns

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) again suspended CemAir’s Part 121 and 135 Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) on Friday, 11 January 2019.

The regulator stated there were “concerns over the systemic failure of the airline’s maintenance controls […] the most recent annual renewal audit revealed CemAir’s inability to prove the continued airworthiness of its fleet.”

CemAir’s two AOC’s had earlier been suspended on December 13, 2018.  On December 18 however, a court order lifted the suspension. A subsequent audit revealed eleven findings of which five  were classified as Level 1. CemAir then submitted a Corrective Action Plan to the CAA for 11 of the findings. The initial plan and subsequent revised versions were reviewed and found to be unacceptable. On 26 December 2018, the SACAA grounded eight of the airline’s aircraft with immediate effect.

The regulator performed additional inspections and learned that the operator could not produce sufficient evidence that maintenance recommendations made by the aircraft manufacturer were fully implemented. The CAA judged the findings to be ‘serious’ and proceeded to immediately suspend CemAir’s Part 121 and 135 AOC’s.



Canada introduces new regulations on flight crew fatigue management

Transport Canada announced changes to flight crew fatigue management as laid down in the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

The changes introduce:

  1. Prescribed flight and duty time limits that respect modern fatigue science and international standards to limit the amount of time a crew member can be on the job; and
  2. Fatigue Risk Management Systems that will allow operators the flexibility to set flight hours based on their unique operations if they can demonstrate that alertness and safety will not be affected.

The new regulations apply to commercial transport services in Canada, which include major Canadian airline operators (subpart 705 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations) and smaller and regional operators (subparts 703 and 704 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations).

One example of the old vs. new regulations:

Previous regulations (1996)

  • 1,200 hours in any 365 consecutive days
  • 300 hours in any 90 consecutive days
  • 120 hours in any 30 consecutive days
  • 40-60 hours in any 7 consecutive days
New regulations

  • 1,000 hours in any 365 consecutive days
  • 300 hours in any 90 consecutive days
  • 112 hours in any 28 consecutive days

More information and additional details on various changes:

EASA publishes new rules on mental fitness of air crew

The European Union published new safety rules on air operations, including new provisions to better support the mental fitness of air crew.

The Regulation includes the following safety measures:

  • Support programme: all pilots working for European airlines will have access to a support programme that will assist and support pilots in recognising, coping with, and overcoming problems which might negatively affect their ability to safely exercise the privileges of their licence.
  • Alcohol testing: As an additional safety barrier, alcohol testing of pilots and cabin crew for all European and foreign airlines who fly into the territories of the European Union, has been added. Alcohol testing is already a well-established practice in some Member States and with this Regulation alcohol testing will now be extended to all EU Member States within the next two years.
  • Psychological assessment: European airlines will perform a psychological assessment of their pilots before the start of employment.

As part of a total system approach, the new rules (so-called Air OPS Implementing Rules) complement the proposals EASA issued in August 2016, on the update of medical requirements for pilots (Part-MED).

The Regulation on mental fitness of air crew includes a two year transition period to allow airlines and Member States to prepare for the Regulation and to set up the necessary infrastructure to comply with the Regulation. EASA will issue Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material – AMC/GM in the form of a Decision- to support the implementation of the new rules and will work with Member States and industry to assist the implementation of the Regulation.


Australian authorities publish their review of aviation safety regulation of drones

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) published their review of aviation safety regulation of drones.

The findings are as follows:

  1. CASA supports mandatory RPA registration in Australia for RPAs weighing more than 250 grams.
  2. CASA should develop a simple online course for recreational and excluded category RPA operators on safe RPA operations, followed by a quiz that has a minimum pass mark.
  3. CASA’s education and training framework around the issue of a remote pilot licence should continue.
  4. CASA should continue to support RPA manufacturers’ efforts to utilise geo-fencing technology to prevent RPA operations in areas where operations are not permitted, including at or near major airports and certain classes of restricted airspace.
  5. CASA should participate where appropriate in international forums to stay abreast of global trends and participate in trials of the technology where feasible.
  6. CASA should work with Airservices Australia to ensure the development of standard data on airspace.
  7. CASA should develop a RPAS roadmap to articulate how to safely integrate RPAs into the Australian airspace system, including content on unmanned traffic management (UMT) systems.

More info:


United Kingdom updates aircraft accident investigation regulations

The United Kingdom updated it’s aircraft accident investigation regulations, making it consistent with directly applicable EU law. 

The Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 1996 and the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Military Air Accidents at Civil Aerodromes) Regulations 2005 were both revoked and replaced by the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 2018.

This new regulation is in line with the EU Regulation 996/2010.


EASA publishes the first Opinion on safe drone operations in Europe

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) reported that it published the first formal Opinion on safe operations for small drones in Europe. The Opinion will serve as a basis for the European Commission to adopt concrete regulatory proposals later in the year.

The requirements for safe drone operations do not focus on the drone itself, but consider a range of elements such as where the drone is flown (over the sea or over a city centre), who is flying the drone (a child or a professional pilot) or what drone is actually being used (how heavy is the drone or what safety features it does have).

The ‘open’ category of operations’ does not require a prior authorisation by the competent authority, nor a declaration by the operator, before the operation takes place. Safety is ensured through a combination of operational limitations, technical requirements for the machine and the competency of the remote pilot. Examples of operations that fall into this category are filming and taking photographs, infrastructure inspections, and leisure activities in which the remote pilot keeps the unmanned aircraft in sight at all times.
The ‘specific’ category of operations requires an authorisation by the competent authority before the operation takes place. Here, safe operations are guaranteed through a system in which the drone operator is required to carry out an operational risk assessment and put in place the resulting mitigation measures to obtain an authorisation to fly the drone. Examples of this category are flights where the operator can no longer see the drone (so-called beyond visual line of sight or BVLOS), flying over populated areas and operations with heavier drones.
The Opinion allows flexibility for the EASA Member States. They will be able to define zones where drone operations will be either prohibited or restricted (for example, to protect sensitive areas), or where certain requirements are alleviated (for example, areas dedicated to model aircraft).

Flight Safety Foundation urges ICAO to accelerate regulation of recreational drones

The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) sent a letter to Dr. Fang Liu, ICAO secretary general, urging ICAO to accelerate regulation of recreational drones.

The Foundation is increasingly concerned that uncertificated, untrained recreational drone operators are flying small UAS near airports and manned aircraft, posing a safety risk.

FSF urges “ICAO to accelerate efforts to fashion appropriate Standards and Recommended Practices for drones, along with procedures and guidance material for States. We also urge all States to intensify efforts to develop proportionate and risk-based approaches for drone laws and regulations that ensure the public’s safety, including by direct regulation of recreational drones, with adequate tracking and identification. We encourage States to consider mandating such technologies as geo-fencing, altitude limiters and line-of-sight controls for equipment used by hobbyists.”

Although some civil aviation authorities – including the European Aviation Safety Agency and those in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Singapore and the U.K. – currently regulate all drone operations, others, including the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, due to legislative restrictions, have had to limit “hobbyist” regulation to registration.

More information:


Avior Airlines added to European black list

The European Commission updated the EU Air Safety List, adding Avior Airlines (Venezuela), to the list.

Avior Airlines (certified in Venezuela) is added to the list due to unaddressed safety deficiencies that were detected by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) during the assessment for a third country operator authorisation (TCO).

Two airlines were removed from the list: Mustique Airways of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Aviation Company Urga (Ukraine) because they made sufficient safety improvements since their inclusion to the Air Safety List in May 2017.

Following the update, a total of 178 airlines are banned from EU skies:
172 airlines certified in 16 states, due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states.
Six individual airlines, based on safety concerns with regard to these airlines themselves: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).
An additional six airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and Nouvelle Air Affaires SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola).

More information:

New powers for U.K. police to address illegal and unsafe use of drones

Police in the United Kingdom are set to be given powers to prevent the unsafe or criminal use of drones as part of a new package of legislation. 

The draft Drone Bill will give officers the right to order operators to ground drones where necessary. Officers will also be able to seize drone parts to prove it has been used to commit an offence.

New measures will also make it mandatory for drone owners to register to improve accountability. And drone operators will be required to use apps – so they can access the information needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally. The U.K. government will publish the draft Drone Bill for consultation and introduce secondary legislation amendments in spring 2018. Changes to the Air Navigation Order will mean that that mean:

  • drone users will have to sit safety awareness tests
  • users of drones weighing 250 grams and over will in future have to be registered

The government is also working closely with drone manufacturers to use geo-fencing to prevent drones from entering restricted zones.

More info: