The European Union Aviation Safety Agency or EASA is an agency of the European Union (EU) with responsibility for civil aviation safety. It carries out certification, regulation, and standardisation, and also performs investigation and monitoring. It collects and analyses safety data, drafts and advises on safety legislation, and coordinates with similar organisations in other parts of the world. The idea of a European-level aviation safety authority goes back to 1996, but the agency was not legally established until 2002. It began its work in 2003.
Based in Cologne, Germany, the agency was created on 15 July 2002, and reached full functionality in 2008, taking over functions of the Joint Aviation Authorities. European Free Trade Association countries have been granted participation in the agency.
The responsibilities of the agency include the analysis and research of safety parameters, authorizing foreign operators, and advising the European Commission on the drafting of EU legislation. It also implements and monitors safety rules (including inspections in the member states), gives type certification of aircraft and components, and approves organisations involved in the design, manufacture and maintenance of aeronautical products.
As part of Single European Sky II (SES-II), an initiative to standardize and coordinate all air traffic control over the EU, the agency has been given additional tasks, which were implemented before 2013. Since 4 December 2012, EASA is able to certify functional airspace blocks if more than three parties are involved.