UK Civil Aviation bill could mean emissions charges

 - October 4, 2006, 4:59 AM

Users of corporate, business and executive aircraft in the UK are working to understand the implications of proposed new civil aviation rules, especially those governing emissions. The Civil Aviation Bill, published in June, covers the next 30 years’ development of air travel in the UK. According to the UK Department for Transport, if approved by Parliament as published, the bill would “clarify airports’ ability to set charges that reflect local emissions of aircraft.”

British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) chief executive Mark Wilson told AIN, “Our only real concern is [possible] extension of emissions charges.” He said operators recognize that they will pay for current noise measures that would be clarified and strengthened under the regulation.

Industry concerns about emissions arise because “it is prohibitively expensive” to get an emissions certificate for an aircraft type that does not already have one. “It will costs thousands [of pounds] and have to involve airframe and engine manufacturers,” Wilson added. BBGA is investigating the possible effect on the UK business aircraft fleet.

Other provisions include permission for local-authority airports to sell their expertise, take part in joint ventures and compete more against private airports. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would be given the power to levy a tax on civil operations to enable the agency to recoup the cost of its advisory aviation-health unit and sponsor a fund that protects passengers of failed tour companies. Airlines would lose their right of appeal against CAA route-licensing decisions.

Business aerodromes, such as Farnborough, that have agreements about local controls expect the planned rules to have no effect on them. But one airport chief executive–unaware of the proposed legislation until AIN contacted him–said, “There always has to be concern, because you cannot always be sure there’s not a hidden agenda in the provision for charges.”