On 1 February 2007 the European Commission issued a discussion paper on General Aviation in the European Community. Referring to the definitions of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, signed at Chicago on 7 December 1944 (article 6 and Annex 6), General Aviation encompasses aircraft operations other than commercial air transport operations or aerial work operations. It includes a broad scope of activities, ranging from the operation of business jets to recreational flying. With the emergence of the so-called ‘Very Light Jets’ (jet aircraft with a passenger capacity of about 6 people) and the growth of various ownership schemes and usage products for business jets, the General Aviation sector is expected to increase.

The discussion paper identifies certain regulatory issues. The European aviation acquis already applies in certain instances to General Aviation. For example, Council Regulation (EEC) No 2407/92 of 23 July 1992 on licensing of air carriers (OJ L 240, 24.8.1992, p. 1–7) provides for less stringent financial requirements for the delivery of an operating license to a carrier exclusively engaged in operations with aircraft of less than 10 tonnes MTOW (maximum take off weight) and/or less than 20 seats (Article 5, par. 7).

The proportional application of other regulatory instruments should also be investigated, e.g. the possibility of including (parts of) General Aviation in the emissions trading scheme (cf. Brussels Air News Issue 21); the role and competencies of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) with regard to various activities of General Aviation, etc.

Stakeholders are invited to submit their comments on the discussion paper by 1 April 2007.