Is it known which member state introduced and/or supported the change? Is it majority voting, and if so is the vote a matter of public record?
It doesn't quite work as straightforwardly as that. The amending regulation is presented as a package.
Typically on day 1, member states kick up a fuss about bits they don't like. The Commission team will get their counting fingers out and if it looks like a blocking minority might dig its heels in, they will revise the draft and re-present it on day 2. It's then up to the states to accept or reject the package. Part-ML with bad bits is better than no Part-ML at all, so you'll probably find that there was a unanimous positive vote.
A bit of detail may shed some light on the weaknesses of the rulemaking process…
The prelude was a paper prepared for the P&CA (engineering) TeB (an NAA-only advisory body) by the Icelandic CAA. However I think there were a number of states that expressed similar concerns, and it wouldn't be fair to single out the Samgöngustofa. While I don't wish to share the entire paper, I think it's fair to quote the explanation of the issue from it.
For the above mentioned aircraft which are operated in accordance with Annex VII to Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 (Part-NCO), it is possible that a “commercial” ATOs may elect not to contract the continuing airworthiness management of its aircraft carried out to a CAMO or CAO nor an approved maintenance organisation for the maintenance. Therefore the maintenance will be carried out by individual Part-66 license certifying staff.
This may not be a problem for many ATOs with limited operation. However, some ATOs have to be considered to be convoluted or complex, requiring active management of the continuing airworthiness tasks and performance of maintenance, even the aircraft it operates fall within Part-ML.
There is a sample of commercial ATOs operating fourteen (14) single and twin ELA1 and ELA2 aircraft flying between 600 to 900 hours per year per aircraft. It has to be recognised that such operation requires active management of the continuing airworthiness tasks and maintenance.
The concern is if ATOs with extensive operation and complexity chooses not to have a CAMO or CAO manage the continuing airworthiness and maintenance not performed by approved maintenance organisation (Part-145/CAO) with the implementation of Part-ML. There is no requirement for such organisation to point out, for example, a focal point for the continuing airworthiness or hire such person with adequate knowledge, background and experience. The requirement only states that the owner/operator is responsible for the continuing airworthiness of the aircraft it operates. Whether or not that will work, will not be evident until airworthiness review, given that the airworthiness review is adequately carried out, or the competent authority performs ACAM survey, and that could be too late.
In such cases, the competent authority cannot require the ATOs to contract CAMO or CAO or to hire adequate knowledgeable person or staff.
For extensive operation, an operation that is commercial, it may be viewed as questionable to remove the current requirement without ensuring adequate safety. Concerning the paying student that has no mean of knowing how the continuing airworthiness is managed and maintenance performed, thus how safety is ensured.
The proposal in the paper was
- If needed and based on the above mentioned feedback, propose ways forward, i.e.
o Consider additional criteria for the complexity of the operation where approved organisations shall be contracted, such as:
• number of aircraft; or
• number of aircraft and utilisation
o A clear responsible person in the ATO for the continuing airworthiness management of the aircraft
I can see the reason for the concern. With the liberalisation of GA regulation, NAAs fear that they will have no powers to deal with bad actors which they believe they need to deal with a real safety risk. Asking for a clear responsible person in the ATO for the continuing airworthiness management of a fleet of 20 aircraft is not unreasonable.
However, when it comes to the EASA Committee where the vote takes place, the subject matter experts brief their national delegates, who generally are not experts in the area. The solution chosen at the EASA Committee was to use the existing (very poor) definition of "commercial ATO" as the criterion to require a CAMO/CAO, without really considering the consequences.