July 1, 2016
While U.S. and other operators around the world have been using single-engine turboprops for night and IFR passenger and cargo flights for years, it has been a different story in Europe. But that may be about to change. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has reported some encouraging signs from a regulatory committee in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
GAMA praised EASA publishing its Opinion 06/2015, in which EASA advances a regulatory framework for commercial air transport (CAT) operations that would allow single-engine turbine airplanes to operate at night or in instrument meteorological conditions. Dubbed SET-IMC, the new regulations are a key milestone in completing two decades’ worth of technical work between industry and regulators, GAMA said, and put Europe on a path to align with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards for CAT operations. The EASA committee voting for the change is made up of functionaries in the European Commission and national experts from each European Union.
Work on the SET-IMC regulations began in the early 1990s. GAMA participated in the EASA rulemaking group in 2012 to help develop the regulatory framework. By 2014 draft rules were submitted to the European Commission. After this week’s vote, the new rules must complete a final round of scrutiny by European Union institutions before their official publication. After that the rules can take effect in approximately six months.
“This new regulation will help expand the market for passenger transport to underserved markets and improve overnight cargo delivery not only in central Europe, but in the remote regions of the continent as well,” said GAMA Vice President of Operations Jens Hennig.
Thomas A. Horne
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.