General aviation in the EU is a diverse and dynamic sector undergoing rapid changes. It involves a wide spectrum of aircraft ranging from gliders to complex business jets and provision of high value services such as aerial works or emergency and business door-to-door transportation. It constitutes an important part of the EU aeronautical industry.
Until recently, addressing the specificities of general aviation at the EU level was not necessary. However, with the extension of the Community competences in aviation safety and security, upgrade of the Single European Sky and growing concerns about environmental impacts of aviation, EU activities have an increasing relevance also for this sector.
General aviation in Europe comprises mainly small and medium sized enterprises or not-for-profit organisations having limited resources to keep up with the ongoing regulatory changes. Proportionality of regulations is therefore of the utmost importance for this sector.
On the industrial side, EU general aviation industry is breaking out to the world markets in an unprecedented way. That momentum needs to be sustained by proper regulation and stimulation of innovation and research.
Despite technological developments, general aviation is affecting the environment and like the wider airline industry or any other transport means, needs to contribute to reducing these impacts.
To address these challenges the European Commission, following broad consultations, adopted on 11 January 2008 its Communication "An Agenda for Sustainable Future in General and Business Aviation".
In September 2014, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) revealed its new organisation which aims at preparing the Agency for the challenges of the coming years. The new organisation will enable EASA to engage more pragmatically with general aviation. For this purpose a dedicated General Aviation and RPAS Department has been created. Earlier in 2014 EASA issued the Roadmap of General Aviation of 2014 . By this Roadmap the Agency aims to bring positive change to the general aviation community by simplifying existing regulations where possible, introducing flexible measures where necessary and developing safety promotion to address safety risks.
In 2015, the Commission launched a study to capture missing statistical data and to provide recommendations of collection of missing data as well as picture the economic landscape of general aviation in order to better understand the market and support decision makers at national and European level. The study is expected to be published in 2016.
Communication from the Commission - An agenda for sustainable future in general and business aviation [COM(2007)869]
Council Conclusions on the Commission communication on an agenda for sustainable future in general and business aviation
European Parliament resolution of 3 February 2009 on an Agenda for Sustainable Future in General and Business Aviation
Policy and other related documents
Summaries of legislation
Agenda for General and Business Aviation
EASA's dedicated website on General aviation