The East African Community Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (EAC CASSOA) was established and commenced operations on 1st June 2007, as an autonomous self-accounting body of the East African Community following the signing of the Protocol for the Establishment of CASSOA by the three founder Partner States on 18th April 2007.
The Agency, which is headquartered in Entebbe, Uganda, was formally established on 18th June 2007 during the 5th Extraordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State held in Kampala Uganda.
Mandate of the Agency
The Agency derives its mandate from Article 92 of the Treaty states that the Partner States shall among others undertake to make air transport services safe, efficient and profitable; adopt common policies for the development of civil air transport in the region; harmonise civil aviation rules and regulations and coordinate measures and co-operate in the maintenance of high security.
Pursuant to Article 92 of the Treaty, the primary objectives of the Agency as stated in the Protocol for the Establishment of CASSOA are to:
a) Promote the safe, secure and efficient use and development of civil aviation within and outside the Partner States;
b) Assist the Partner States in meeting their safety and security oversight obligations and responsibilities under the Chicago Convention and its Annexes; and
c) Provide the Partner States with an appropriate forum and structure to discuss plan and implement common measures required for achieving the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation through the implementation of international standards and recommended practices relating to the safety and security of civil aviation.
CASSOA is also involved in three major functions, namely:
• Harmonising operating regulations to ensure that they meet international standards and recommended practices;
• Developing standardised procedures for licensing, approving, certificating and supervising civil aviation activities; and
• Providing guidance and assistance to Partner States including putting in place measures for resource sharing particularly for the technical personnel.
How CASSOA works
CASSOA is designed to work with Partner States’ civil aviation authorities, which retain responsibility for regulating civil aviation activities in their territories covering licensing, approving, certificating and ensuring compliance.
The Agency is expected to evolve into a more complex structure in future with Partner States’ civil aviation authorities delegating part of their functions and responsibilities concerning licensing, approval and certification of personnel, organisations and aeronautical products, based on common regional regulations and procedures.
Governance of the Agency
The Agency as a self accounting Institution of the Community is governed by a Board of Directors. Membership to this Board includes all the heads of civil aviation authorities of the Partner States, the Executive Director and aviation experts, one from each Partner State nominated by the Minister responsible for civil aviation.
The Board has established two Technical Committees to facilitate management and carrying out the functions and obligations of the Agency. The Technical Committee – Regulatory (TC-R) is responsible for all technical and regulatory issues relating to safety and security oversight while the Technical Committee – Finance and Administration (TC – F & A) is responsible for the administration and management of resources of the Agency.
One of the major achievements of CASSOA since its inception has been the harmonisation of regulations and development of guidance materials which have been promulgated in the Partner States.
The accession of Rwanda and Burundi to the EAC however, means that their aviation legislations and regulations must be harmonised to the other States. This is an ongoing process in which the Agency is actively involved.