AOPA Initiative Achieves Milestone at IAOPA World Assembly

AOPA Initiative Achieves Milestone at IAOPA World Assembly

Washington, D.C. – The 30th World Assembly of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA), held from May 7th to 10th, 2024, was a significant event marked by a number of resolutions that will shape the future of general aviation. Among these, a noteworthy achievement was the approval of a resolution spearheaded by AOPA Luxembourg, reflecting a major stride towards harmonizing regulations for Annex II and ultra-light aircraft across Europe.

Resolution 30/6: European-wide Harmonization for Annex II and Ultra-light Aircraft

This resolution, presented by our President Peter Sodermans, titled “Proposal for a European-wide Harmonization of Mutual Recognition for Annex II Aircraft and European Ultra-light Leisure Flight Across Europe,” addresses the inconsistencies in national regulations that create barriers for cross-border operations of these aircraft. The initiative calls for European Civil Aviation Authorities to mutually recognize permits for Annex II and ultra-light aircraft, facilitating smoother leisure flights across borders. This is contingent on pilots holding a valid European pilot certificate and a liability insurance policy.

Background and Significance

The resolution’s approval is a direct response to the fragmented regulatory landscape within Europe, where national civil aviation authorities apply varying rules to Annex II and ultra-light aircraft. Despite all European countries being ICAO members and integrating ICAO recommendations into their national laws, small differences in regulations have created unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles. This resolution aims to streamline processes and reduce these barriers, enhancing the freedom of movement for pilots and aircraft within Europe.

Key Aspects of the Resolution

  • Mutual Recognition: European Civil Aviation Authorities are urged to recognize Annex II and ultra-light aircraft permits issued by other European countries.
  • Cross-border Operations: The resolution supports allowing these aircraft to operate freely across European borders for leisure purposes, provided pilots meet the necessary certification and insurance requirements.
  • National Discretion: While advocating for mutual recognition, the resolution also respects the sovereignty of national authorities to decide the conditions under which a foreign-registered Annex II aircraft or ultra-light can be permanently based in their country.

Impact on General Aviation

The approval of this resolution is expected to significantly benefit general aviation by simplifying cross-border flights within Europe. It will enable pilots to plan leisure trips without the administrative burden of navigating different national regulations, thus promoting a more integrated European airspace. This move is also anticipated to boost tourism and economic activities related to general aviation.

Current Regulatory Landscape

The need for this resolution is underscored by recent challenges faced by pilots and operators. For instance, the dynamic process of handling foreign-registered ultra-light aircraft in Germany has led to significant regulatory confusion and legal challenges. Recent changes in French and Swiss regulations have further complicated cross-border flights for ultra-light aircraft, creating a fragmented and challenging environment for operators.

Pilot Concerns and Legal Implications

Pilots have expressed concerns over the strict interpretations of regulations, which have led to legal uncertainties. The German Federal Aviation Office (LBA) recently stated that operating foreign-registered ultra-light aircraft by residents is prohibited and considered a criminal offense. This stance has created a chilling effect among pilots, discouraging cross-border leisure flights due to fear of legal repercussions.

Gratitude and Acknowledgments

The success of this resolution is a proof to the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders within the IAOPA community. Special thanks are extended to AOPA Luxembourg for their initiative and dedication in bringing this issue to the forefront. The resolution’s approval is a prime example of how collective advocacy can lead to substantial regulatory improvements.

Looking Ahead

As the resolution moves towards implementation, IAOPA and its affiliates will continue to work closely with European Civil Aviation Authorities to ensure a smooth transition. This includes developing guidelines and frameworks to facilitate mutual recognition and address any practical challenges that may arise.

For more information on the 30th IAOPA World Assembly and to stay updated on the implementation of this resolution, visit the IAOPA website.

Final Thoughts

The 30th IAOPA World Assembly has set a progressive agenda for general aviation, with the approval of Resolution 30/6 being a landmark achievement. It underscores the importance of international cooperation and the continuous effort to enhance the regulatory environment for pilots and aircraft owners worldwide.

Please find herunder all the resolutions which were discussed and approved at the IAOPA World Assembly. The AOPA Luxembourg is listed at page 13

AOPA Luxembourg President Advocates for Cross-border Harmonization

As the President of AOPA Luxembourg, I am proud to have advocated for the harmonization of regulations for Annex II and ultra-light aircraft across Europe. This resolution’s approval is a victory for general aviation, promising to alleviate the administrative burdens and legal uncertainties that pilots have faced for years.

Our efforts at the IAOPA World Assembly underscore our commitment to fostering a more integrated and accessible airspace in Europe. By working together with other national AOPAs and European Civil Aviation Authorities, we can ensure that the skies remain open and welcoming for all aviators, regardless of borders.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to all who supported this initiative, especially Emmanuel Davidson from AOPA France, and look forward to continuing our work to promote the interests and freedoms of pilots and aircraft owners across Europe.

The President of AOPA Luxembourg, Peter Sodermans, at the IAOPA World Assembly in Washington in 2024