Today, on June 11th, Mr Jean-Claude Tintin, Chief Executive Officer of Belgocontrol, received from the Director-General of the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Jules Kneepkens, the official document stating the European certification by the Belgian Supervisory Authority, and this for the whole of our company’s activities. This certification occurs in the framework of the future Single European Sky and is destined to improve the efficiency and the security of air traffic.
The Single European Sky
From the Single European Sky project, launched by the European Commission in 1999, ensued a first series of four regulations, which entered into force on April 20th 2004. The basic regulations of the Single European Sky are the framework regulation, the regulation with regard to the organisation and the use of airspace, the regulation concerning the provision of air navigation services and the regulation concerning the interoperability of the European network for the management of air traffic. The purpose of these regulations is to reinforce the current security standards and to increase the overall efficiency of air traffic in Europe, particularly by a restructuring, in the long run, of the European Union airspace in function of traffic as opposed to national borders.
The European Certification
The regulation concerning the provision of services imposes the European providers of air navigation services to be certified. In application of this regulation, common requirements for the provision of air navigation services were adopted by the European Commission. In order to be able to provide all the air navigation services in the Community, Belgocontrol had to prove whether it could comply with these common requirements before receiving the certification. The conformity with the common requirements is primarily based on the Acceptable Means of Compliance or AMC. These AMC ensue from a scrutiny of the common requirements in order to come to a mutual comprehension to fulfil the certification conditions.
The Belgian Supervisory Authority
By virtue of the principle of separation between the regulatory function and the function of service provision, which constitutes one of the pillars of the Single European Sky, only an independent authority could verify and inspect whether Belgocontrol was able to meet the common requirements. Although this separation already exists in Belgium, where the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority fulfils the regulatory function, a Royal Decree has established a specific institution, the Belgian Supervising Authority for Air Navigation Services (BSA-ANS), officially designated by the Belgian state to act as the national surveillance authority of air navigation service providers. In accordance with the regulation in respect of the Single European Sky, the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority (DGTA/DGLV) incorporates this new authority since June 1st 2006.
The BSA was responsible for auditing Belgocontrol to verify its adaptation to and conformity with the common requirements and to decide whether the company actually fulfils all the required conditions in view of its certification. All the Belgocontrol services were mobilised in order to fully prepare for obtaining the certification.
The audit was carried out by BSA experts and took several months. This intense work reached a favourable conclusion thanks to the excellent collaboration and the expertise of the people of the two organisations concerned. It was finished by April 27th 2007. The BSA did not establish a single non-conformity. Thus, it confirms that Belgocontrol fulfils the common requirements to which the air navigation service providers must answer in order to carry out their activities in Europe.
The official presentation of the certification by the Director-General of the DGTA/DGLV, Mr Jules Kneepkens, on June 11th, constitutes an important milestone for Belgocontrol. It allows the company to continue to provide all its currently existing services, but with the quality label of the European certification. Now that Belgocontrol is certified, the company is very much aware that all these existing or future implementation rules are only the beginning of a series of changes that will affect our sector. That is why Belgocontrol will continue, like we have done in the past, to anticipate these changes and at the same time respect what is and must stay our main mission: to guarantee a security level that is as good, if not better than the current one.
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