The process of establishing an international aviation accident investigation bureau has reached the stage of national-level approval, Maxim Sokolov, the transport minister of Russia, told TASS newswire at the Sochi 2018 investment forum.
Within the new structure Russia intends to be joined by the other member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), namely Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Sokolov pointed out that he expects the corresponding document to be signed at the coming intergovernmental session of the EAEU in April 2018.
The text of the agreement has already been approved. Each of the member countries must now sign it with one another in a five-way format. The document will come in force after the first endorsement.
The agreement is open for joining by other countries that are prepared to abide by it. No such applications have been registered so far, however.
In March 2016, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (FATA) set up the Aviation Register of the Russian Federation, which took over the certifying function for commercial aircraft, engines, propellers, and onboard equipment from the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC).
Two months later the FAA and EASA recognized the new certifying body and waived any additional audits. In January 2018, FATA and EASA signed a working agreement facilitating mutual recognition of each other’s airworthiness approvals.
The efforts made by the Russian government to create a new investigation bureau may be interpreted as another step toward dismantling the existing IAC structure. Overhauling the committee appears virtually impossible. The CIS-wide body was formed in December 1991 under the Interstate Civil Aviation Agreement signed by the heads of 12 out of the 15 former Soviet republics (excluding the three Baltic states) as a legal successor of the Soviet Union’s aviation-related governmental structures. The organization was also to succeed the Soviet side in international air service agreements, and to participate in ICAO.
The situation has since changed in may ways. Apart from Russia, there are nine countries still represented by the IAC: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. All of these now have their own national agencies responsible for aircraft certification and airworthiness oversight.
The new organization will likely attempt to lure away the IAC’s highly qualified experts, thus significantly reducing the committee’s.
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