September 09, 2021


EASA Airworthiness Directives (AD’s) Considerations Presented by Sofema Aviation Services (SAS)


Airworthiness Directives are issued by EASA, acting in accordance with the Basic Regulation on behalf of the European Community, its Member States, and of the European third countries that participate in the activities of EASA under Article 66 of that Regulation.

In accordance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 1321/2014 (Annex I, M.A.301), the continuing airworthiness of an aircraft shall be ensured by accomplishing any applicable ADs. Consequently, no person may operate an aircraft to which an AD applies, except in accordance with the requirements of that AD unless otherwise specified by the Agency (Annex I, M.A.303) or agreed with the Authority of the State of Registry (Article 71 of the Basic Regulation).

Issuance of AD’s

ADs applicable to an EASA approved type certificate are those ADs that have been issued or adopted by the Agency.

ADs are issued by the Agency through Agency decisions.

ADs are adopted by the Agency through:

after 28/09/2003: Executive Director Decision 02/2003 or, from 03 June 2019, Executive Director Decision 2019/018/ED.

before 28/09/2003: Commission Regulation (EU) No 748/2012 (Article 3 (1)(a)(iii) – ADs issued by the State of Design for products, parts, and appliances).

The dissemination of airworthiness directives to aircraft owners is a responsibility of the State of Registry and does not belong to the Agency.

Ref 21.A.3B Airworthiness Directives (Regulation (EU) No 748/2012)

An airworthiness directive means a document issued or adopted by the Agency which mandates actions to be performed on an aircraft to restore an acceptable level of safety when evidence shows that the safety level of this aircraft may otherwise be compromised.

The Agency shall issue an airworthiness directive when:

  • An unsafe condition has been determined by the Agency to exist in an aircraft, as a result of a deficiency in the aircraft, or an engine, propeller, part, or appliance installed on this aircraft; and
  • That condition is likely to exist or develop in other aircraft.
  • When an airworthiness directive has to be issued by the agency to correct the unsafe condition or to require the performance of an inspection, the holder of

o The type-certificate, (TCH)

o Restricted type-certificate, (RTCH)

o Supplemental type-certificate, (STCH)

o Major Repair Design Approval, (Design Approval Holder DAH)

o European Technical Standard Order (ETSO) authorisation or

o Any other relevant approval deemed to have been issued under this Regulation, shall:

Propose the appropriate corrective action or required inspections, or both, and submit details of these proposals to the Agency for approval.

  • Following the approval by the Agency of the proposals referred to under point (1), make available to all known operators or owners of the product, part or appliance and, on request, to any person required to comply with the airworthiness directive, appropriate descriptive data and accomplishment instructions.

An Airworthiness Directive Shall Contain at Least the Following Information:

  • An identification of the unsafe condition;
  • An identification of the affected aircraft;
  • The action(s) required;
  • The compliance time for the required action(s);
  • The date of entry into force.

Sensitive Security Airworthiness Directive (SSAD)

  • An SSAD is an AD issued or adopted by EASA that mandates certain corrective actions, the content of which includes security sensitive information.
  • An SSAD will be disseminated by EASA to those states having affected aircraft on the register.
  • Further distribution of the SSAD to operators of the affected aircraft or other concerned parties remains under State of Registry responsibility and should be done on a “need to know” basis only.

Note: An SSAD record is uploaded in the EASA Safety Publications publishing tool, but only after the end of the SSAD compliance time and without attachments;

Accessing AD Data – The Safety Publications Tool

  • The EASA Safety Publications publishing tool (SP Tool) offers a complete list of Airworthiness Directives that have been issued or approved by EASA since 28/09/2003.
  • The tool also contains all Proposed Airworthiness Directives (PAD) and allows users to submit their comments during the consultation period.

Note: After 15/09/2008, new Safety Information Bulletins, Foreign State of Design Safety Publications, and Foreign State of Design ADs are published within the EASA SP tool.

AD’s related to Parts & Appliances

Since October 2016, a new format to improve the taxonomy for ADs applicable to parts and appliances (equipment) has been fully implemented in the EASA Safety Publication Tool. The new settings enable users to find all ADs applicable to a particular category of parts and appliances or find all ‘equipment’ ADs with a single search action, rather than (as was previously the case) having to select each ETSO approval holder separately.

Users can go to the Safety Publications Tool, advanced search and select APPLIANCES to start using the new taxonomy for equipment ADs.

Users can also define/amend their filter setting(s) accordingly, thereby ensuring to be notified when EASA publishes an AD or PAD that does not directly apply to aircraft, engine, or propeller type designs.

It is possible to either select ‘APPLIANCES’, or choose notification for (e.g.) ATA 25 EQUIPMENT / FURNISHINGS only, or even more detailed, (e.g. if the user does maintenance on seats only) selecting Cabin Crew Seats, Flight Crew Seats and Passengers Seats.

Not all the ADs issued by the NAAs prior to 28/09/2003 (start date of the Agency) are included at this time. Any State of Design AD not (yet) located in the EASA SP Tool should be retrieved from the original State of Design National Airworthiness Authority (NAA), likely available on the respective NAA websites.

Alternative Methods of Compliance to Airworthiness Directives (AMOC to ADs)

An Alternative Method of Compliance (AMOC) is an EASA approved deviation to an AD. It is a different way, other than the one specified in an AD, to address an unsafe condition on products, parts and appliances.

  • An AMOC must provide an acceptable level of safety, equivalent to the level of safety intended for compliance with the original AD.

To apply for AMOC to ADs, fill FO.CAP.00042 and email to:

What Are EASA Safety Information Bulletins (SIB)

Formerly named Safety Information Notices. SIBs are for information only; they do not contain mandatory instructions.

Non-EU Member State Airworthiness Directives

For products, parts, and appliances, for which the Agency only exercises the design responsibilities of the State of Registry, its policy is to endorse automatically the airworthiness directives issued by the State of Design, except if it itself issues a different airworthiness directive or a decision to not adopt the airworthiness directive (Executive Director Decision 2019/018/ED.

The dissemination of airworthiness directives to aircraft owners is a responsibility of the State of Registry.

Next Steps

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