We expect an announcement soon from the joint FAA/EASA workgroup that will provide a solution to the long-running MMEL vs MEL debacle.

Last year, ramp checks on some US aircraft in France highlighted an important issue – EASA and the FAA have different interpretations of the ICAO standards regarding deferring aircraft discrepancies.

In the US, with FAA authorization operators can use a master minimum equipment list (MMEL) to defer repairing certain equipment. But in Europe, MMEL cannot be used in lieu of an MEL specific to each aircraft or fleet.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) began requiring all aircraft transiting European airspace to have an approved Minimum Equipment List (MEL) for each, individual aircraft. An MEL that references the MMEL was not acceptable.

This has been a pain for US operators, as to get an individual MEL approved under the Letter of Authorisation from the FAA takes time – but by not doing so, they run the risk of failing a ramp check in a European country.

However, it looks like an end to the problem may be in sight: we expect the FAA will soon issue a notice requiring international operators to obtain new D195 LOA’s, and in return EASA will halt any findings for a period of 12 months to allow for these new LOA’s to be issued.