In the past few years the EU legal framework regarding airports has been highly revised, obliging the aviation authorities of member states to revise national regulations accordingly. The basic regulation (ie, EU Regulation 216/2008) was amended by EU Regulation 1108/2009, which enlarged the European Aviation Safety Agency's (EASA) competences to include aerodromes, air traffic management and air navigation services within the EU safety system. Subsequently, EU Regulation 139/2014 now requires member states, civil aviation authorities, airports and their management companies to ensure full compliance with the new rules by December 31 2017. In parallel, the EASA integrated the regulatory framework by setting the acceptable means of compliance, certification specifications and guidance material for airport facilities.


The Italian implementation process is supervised by the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC). ENAC has developed a road map for ensuring the Italian airport system's compliance with the new EU rules by the December 31 2017 deadline. The road map identifies four macro-areas of intervention:

  • regulatory management;
  • certifications and conversion of previous certifications;
  • communication; and
  • training and education.

Within these four fields the authorities responsible for aerodrome certification and oversight, aerodrome operators and apron management service providers must carry out a series of coordinated actions. The roadmap covers 38 airports distributed throughout Italy, whose certifications – previously granted in accordance with a 2003 ENAC regulation on the construction and management of aerodromes – will be converted into new ones that are consistent with the EU provisions.

ENAC is also working at different levels to ensure guidance and support in favour of stakeholders. Alongside a broad commitment to the promotion and organisation of conferences, workshops and educational sessions, ENAC has implemented a number of specific measures:

  • It has added a new section to its website entirely focused on Regulation 139/2014, with the aim of clarifying the relevant content, purpose and objectives to any interested parties;
  • It has prepared draft framework agreements between each airport management company and the other entities engaged in the safety and security of the infrastructures (eg, air traffic control service provider ENAV SpA; the Italian Air Force; and the Department of Firefighters, Public Rescue and Civil Defence) for the purpose of improving the coordination of surveillance and prevention services;
  • On March 9 2016 it issued two separate guidelines (001/2016 APT and 002/2016 APT) containing instructions and practical information for airport management companies on how to handle the alternative means of compliance. 'Alternative means of compliance' are used to prove the achievement of the targets identified by Regulation 139/2014 as an alternative to the 'relevant acceptable means of compliance' published by the EASA. Alternative means of compliance are also a valid instrument for managing and evaluating actual deviations from the certification specifications set out in EASA Decision 2015/001/R; and
  • Based on the powers conferred by the Italian Navigation Code, it will publish a specific regulation regarding risk management plans for areas surrounding and near to airports, in respect of prospective dangers and obstacles to air operations.

For further information on this topic please contact Laura Pierallini at Studio Legale Pierallini e Associati by telephone (+39 06 88 41 713) or email ( The Studio Legale Pierallini e Associati website can be accessed at

This article was first published by the International Law Office, a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. Register for a free subscription.