The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is conducting a strategic review of business and general aviation and how these industries should be regulated. This will be put to the CAA board at its June meeting and, significantly, will be considered before the authority issues its final ruling on controversial changes to safety regulation charges.
CAA chairman Sir Roy McNulty told the annual conference of the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) that the authority understands that the two sectors have different needs and circumstances that need to be reflected in the way they are regulated. He explained that the review will consider the following factors:
• the respective value of business and general aviation to the UK economy;
• their impact on innovation and technology;
• the effectiveness of previous consultation with the industry;
• the rising cost of security requirements; and
• commercial and technological changes facing the industry, such as the introduction of very light jets.
“We recognize that the different parts of general aviation [such as business aviation] have very different needs and may need regulating differently,” Sir Roy told BBGA members. He added, “In fact, the diversity of general aviation is a real challenge for the CAA.”
The CAA review is considering possibilities for more cost-effective and devolved regulation that could see the industry regulating itself more. It is also assessing factors such as how fractional ownership operations should be regulated, and possible new regulatory distinctions covering the operation of so-called complex and non-complex aircraft.
BBGA chief executive Mark Wilson said that while self-regulation might be good in theory it is already resulting in companies having to shoulder the costs associated with quality-control responsibilities that were previously carried by the regulator. He also complained that the flight-training industry in the UK continues to face serious tax disadvantages. “We can’t have our training industry taxed out of business, because we have already lost a lot of twin-engine and ab initio training,” he told the conference.