The European Union’s Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) has been redesignated as the EU’s Ramp Inspection Program (RIP). In light of this change, the FAA has issued a document detailing operator responsibilities under RIP.
SAFA was instituted by the EU in 1996, and has since become a ramp safety inspection tool utilized by nearly 50 countries. Managed by EASA, it focuses on aircraft landing at the airports of EU members and other participating states, with inspections being conducted without advance notification.
Such inspections follow a common procedure using a checklist of areas based on ICAO standards. A completed RIP inspection does not guarantee the airworthiness of the aircraft, but whether it complies with the 54 inspection areas.
When inspectors find a deviation from a checklist item, they will assign it a category of 1, 2, or 3 depending on its potential safety danger, with results ranging from reporting to the pilot-in-command or operator, to reporting to the aircraft’s governing authority (FAA in the case of U.S.-registered aircraft), to barring departure until corrected.
According to the document, “U.S. operators must be responsive to EU RIP findings and address all findings within 30 days of the initial notification of inspection findings.” In addition, they should be prepared for their FAA principal inspectors to conduct follow up surveillance to ensure compliance.