Airworthiness of an aircraft is the fitness of an aircraft for flight in all conditions for which it has been designed, and to which it may therefore be exposed. This means that during the whole lifecycle of the aircraft, for all types of operations and in all environments, the structure of the aircraft must remain unchanged.
To that end, every aircraft must first be certified. The certification process, also known as initial airworthiness, is carried out in the EU by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on behalf of the Member States. The common technical requirements and administrative procedures for the airworthiness and environmental certification of aircraft are set out in Regulation (EU) No 748/2012.
During the aircraft’s lifetime, ‘continuing airworthiness activities’ are carried out to ensure continuous fitness for flight. The common technical requirements and administrative procedures for the continuing airworthiness are set out in Regulation (EU) No 1321/2014.