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Regulation EU 996/2010 concerning assistance to air crash victims

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Regulation 996/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 refers to the investigation and prevention of accidents and incidents on civil aviation.

SOS Catastrophes – European Network closely follows the implementation of the community regulation, which will be subject to an update by the European commission as of the end of 2014.

This regulation aims at ensuring a high general level of safety in civil aviation in Europe, whilst reducing the number of accidents to promote public confidence in air transport.

Indeed, the manner in which an accident and its consequences are dealt with by Member States and airlines is crucially important. This issue is essential to us and improvement of safety rules is always possible. Safety investigation should as well be compatible with the legal investigations that exist in many countries of the European Union.

Another input from this European regulation is that Member States now have the obligation to create an emergency plan providing for, in particular, airport emergency services and assistance to the victims of civil aviation accidents and their relatives.

Airlines should also have a plan for assistance to the victims of civil aviation accidents and their relatives. Particular attention should be given to the support to and the communication with victims and their relatives, and their associations. To our knowledge, it is the first time that a European text recognizes the role fulfilled by disaster victims’ associations and views them as key interlocutors.

Article 20 and 21 of this regulation focus on the treatment that ought to be given to victims of air crashes. Article 20 provides, in particular, the obligation for the Member States to implement procedures to allow the availability of information on passengers victims of a plane crash. In fact, following an air accident it is not easy to identify rapidly the appropriate contact person to inform of a passenger’s presence on board. The possibility of designating a contact person should therefore be offered to passengers.

Article 21 concerns the assistance to the victims of air accidents and their relatives, for which each Member State shall establish an emergency plan at a national level. Indeed, article 21 states that “Member States shall ensure that all airlines established in their territory have a plan for the assistance to the victims of civil aviation accidents and their relatives. Those plans must take particular account of psychological support for victims of civil aviation accidents and their relatives and allow the airline to react to a major accident. The Member States shall audit the assistance plans of the airlines established in their territory. Member States shall also encourage third-country airlines, which operate in the Union to similarly adopt a plan for the assistance of victims of civil aviation accidents and their relatives.”
If we look forward to these obligations concerning assistance to victims’ relatives, we can regret that more than two years later, few Member States have truly adopted these plans. In the same way, many aspects of airline companies’ preparation remain unknown. All one has to do is look at the accidents that occurred in the past years to notice that the implication of airline companies varies greatly and too much between victims’ families.

Hence, SOS Catastrophes – European Network wishes that the European Commission could have a real impact on the states for the establishment of these national plans and could define, for example, minimum standards.

We will be particularly involved on this question in order to raise our voices through personal experiences and the promotion of good practices.


Source :
Regulation EU No 996/2010
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