Skip to main content
Mobility and Transport

Aviation safety

Flying is one of the safest ways to travel. The European Union ensures that all European citizens can enjoy the highest level of safety in the sky.

The European aviation safety system is based on a set of shared safety rules, which are overseen by the European Commission, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and National Aviation Authorities. These rules apply in all EU Member States and cover all key areas of aviation including airworthiness, aircrew, aerodromes, air operations and the provision of air navigation services.

The EU’s approach to safety management in aviation relies on occurrence reporting – reports, analysis and follow-up of safety-related events in civil aviation. Common rules on accident investigations are also designed to prevent the reoccurrence of dangerous incidents.

Drones are also regulated by European safety rules. These unmanned aircraft, passenger or cargo, big or small, are used for tasks as varied as the greening of agricultural methods and firefighting. The use of drones is likely to grow significantly, as automation enables them to fly further. European rules promote the sustainable growth of drone operations, paving the way for a digital future while maintaining the highest safety levels and ensuring societal acceptance for this disruptive technology.

The EU Air Safety List bans or restricts unsafe third-country air carriers that fail to meet international safety standards from flying in European skies, and informs passengers of any such carriers.

To assess the safety of third-country air carriers operating in European airspace, the European Union relies on EASA, which checks the Third Country Operator Authorisation system and carries out ramp inspections, under the Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) programme.

International cooperation is essential to aviation safety. The European Union pursues this through its work with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), its technical cooperation projects, and by negotiating bilateral aviation safety agreements with key partners around the globe.