The JAA’s work began in 1970 (when it was known as the Joint Airworthiness Authorities). Originally its tasks were to produce common certification codes for large aeroplanes and for engines. This was to meet the needs of European Industry and particularly for products manufactured by international consortia. From 1987, its work was extended to operations, maintenance, licensing and certification/design standards for all classes of aircraft.
The Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) was an associated body of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) representing the civil aviation regulatory authorities of many European States who had agreed to co-operate in developing and implementing common safety regulatory standards and procedures. This co-operation provided high and consistent standards of safety and a “level playing field” for competition in Europe. Much emphasis was placed on harmonising regulations.
The JAA Membership was based on signing the “JAA Arrangements” document originally signed by Member States in Cyprus in 1990. The objective was to ensure, through co-operation amongst Member States, that JAA members achieve a high, consistent level of aviation safety. In addition to achieving a cost-effective safety system to contribute to an efficient civil aviation industry.
This situation changed in 2002 as a new regulatory framework was created for European aviation. With the adoption of the Regulation (EC) No 1592/2002 by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (EU) the setup of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was given the green light.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), formally started its work on 28 September 2003, taking over the responsibility for regulating airworthiness and maintenance issues for the EU Member States. EASA moved into its first headquarters in Cologne, Germany in November 2004. At its early stages a roadmap was established to manage the transition from the JAA to the EASA system.
In November 2005, the EU Commission began the legislative process to amend EASA Regulation (EC) 1592/2002 to extend the competences of EASA into the fields of operations and licensing.
The ECAC Directors General decided to disband the JAA system from 30 June 2009 but to keep a JAA Training Organisation. Thus, Europe established one harmonised set of regulations for airworthiness. Those regulations continue to develop to take on the new challenges aviation faces.