We have been looking into the EASA Fees and Charges rule, and examining the effect it has on the PMA community.
Europe does not currently issue approvals that are analogous to the FAA PMA. Under the bilateral airworthiness safety agreement between the U.S. and the European Community, PMA parts from the United States are generally acceptable in Europe, unless the parts are “critical.” The term “critical” includes parts with life limits (parts that must be removed from service after a set number of hours or cycles because of fatigue life due to repetitive stress or other reasons). “Critical” PMA parts from the U.S. are acceptable in Europe if they are (1) produced by the type certificate holder or the type certificate holder’s licensees or (2) produced by a third party who has applied for and received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from EASA.
Thus, if an independent U.S. company produces “critical” parts under a FAA PMA, it is required to obtain a PMA in order to sell those parts to a customer for use on a European-registered aircraft.
If the PMA parts reflected a major change to type design, then it would be required to have a STC in the United States. Most PMA parts, though, do not require an STC in the United States because they are not major changes to type design (because they typically are drop-in replacements that do not change the operational characteristics of the aircraft or engine). Thus “critical” PMA parts will generally require a European STC, despite the fact that the STC repeats the design approval process associated with obtaining the PMA from the FAA.
The EASA charge for a Supplemental Type Certificate is a flat fee of 767.71 Euro[i] plus an hourly fee of 111.77 Euro per hour.[ii] The hourly fee is charges for hours of service performed by EASA technical experts (its own employees) and /or the EASA’s contractors (employees of the National Aviation Authorities). In addition, the US applicant must pay for all travel charges associated with the certification project.
The industry is replete with horror stories about U.S. companies who felt they had been “held hostage” to the European application process. These stories, whether true or not, have resulted in many smaller U.S. companies concluding that application to EASA for a STC related to a “critical” PMA part would be futile, in that the net cost of the STC would exceed any potential gain from being able to export the part for use in Europe.
With this in mind, we have several questions on which we could use advice from industry:
• Do any of you have any experience with the EASA Fees and Charges system that you are willing to share? What is your impression of the size of the fees actually charged, and/or the amount of certification or validation time taken by EASA?
• Have any of you made any business decisions based on the EASA Fees and Charges rule (like a decision to keep a part out of the European Market)? Has the EASA Fees and Charges rule had a chilling effect on your entry into the European Market?
• Do you agree that this is something on which MARPA should comment?
Some resources that you may find useful in your own investigations:
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 593/2007
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 488/2005
- EASA Fees and Charges Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for letting me know your concerns!
[i] This figure is based on the base fee of 680 Euro, indexed to inflation. Indexing is accomplished pursuant to Part V of the Annex to Commission Regulation (EC) No 593/2007. The 2012 cumulative inflation factor is a multiple of 1.12898.
[ii] This figure is based on the base fee of 99 Euro per hour indexed to inflation. Indexing is accomplished pursuant to Part V of the Annex to Commission Regulation (EC) No 593/2007. The 2012 cumulative inflation factor is a multiple of 1.12898.