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Amendments to the Aviation Act aim to clarify roles and responsibilities and to improve safety

Ministry of Transport and Communications
21.10.2021 13.40 | Published in English on 21.10.2021 at 14.00
Press release

The Government proposes that the Aviation Act and certain related acts be further specified to meet the recent developments in EU regulation, among other things. The key amendments proposed in the draft bill would clarify the powers of the aviation authorities and certain other aviation operators. The objective is to further improve safety in civil aviation.

The draft bills would complement the powers of the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom as the national civil aviation safety authority. The amendments would clarify the powers of the Transport and Communications Agency in terms of restricting the use of air traffic rights and implementing the EU Aviation Safety Regulation. In addition, the responsibility for awarding government grants to airports would be transferred from the Ministry of Transport and Communications to the Transport and Communications Agency.

To make the airworthiness review of light aircraft simpler and smoother, airworthiness review staff would be authorised to grant review certificates. Currently the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency grants certificates on the review staff's recommendation.

The draft bill specifies in more detail certain roles and responsibilities concerning air navigation services and flight method design, and expands the right of aviation search and rescue service providers to obtain information necessary for completing the task in question. In addition, the carriage of passengers on historical aircraft should, in future, be reported to the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency if such activities are not subject to other permit or reporting obligations.

In this context, sanctioning in the aviation sector would be reviewed, including the elements of causing a traffic hazard as specified in the Criminal Code of Finland. According to the proposed amendment, unmanned aviation not complying with EU regulations would be considered a violation, and would have legal consequences. 

With regard to unmanned aviation, the Aviation Act would give certain operators the right to monitor unauthorised unmanned aircraft systems in areas such as airport surroundings.

What next?

The proposal for amendments submitted by the Government to Parliament on 21 October 2021 concerns the Aviation Act, the Act on Transport Services, the Act on Electronic Communications Services, the Criminal Code, and the Act on the Defence Forces.

A preliminary debate will be held on the proposal in a plenary session. The timetable for the debate will be listed on Parliament's website (upcoming plenary sessions).

After the preliminary debate, the proposal will be referred to a committee. The committee drafts a report, which is then discussed in a plenary session.

The aim is for the amendments to come into force no later than the beginning of 2022.

Inquiries:

Senior Adviser Sonja Töyrylä, tel. +358 50 4384729, [email protected]

Suvi Kankare, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 50 478 4743, [email protected] (flight methods, unmanned aviation, air navigation and safety issues)

Press release 8 April 2021: Traffic safety provisions in aviation legislation to be specified
Government: Material for Government plenary sessions 21.10.2021 (in Finnish)
Government projects: Government proposal for acts amending the Aviation Act and certain other related acts (LVM052:00/2020) (in Finnish)

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