Consultation Alert – This one is very important – updated 4 March
Regulating Air Transport: Consultation on Proposals to Update the Regulatory Framework for Aviation
The DfT have issued a consultation document for Proposals to Update the Regulatory Framework for Aviation. This means that the DfT aims to update the law which underpins the Civil Aviation Authority, by a new Act of Parliament. The consultation can be found here and has a response deadline of 11th March 2010. The was an article on this in the March edition of the magazine and you can read that here.
While at first sight these proposals do not seem to have any relevance to General Aviation (GA), that is only because they have forgotten GA in their aim to make the CAA into a consumer and environmental champion, instead of primarily a safety regulator. If these proposals become law, GA may be left out in the cold, because the CAA will turn its main attention to the interests of the airline passenger and the environment.
LAA members may wish to make their individual responses to the consultation. The consultation is long and complex. You need not attempt to provide answers to all the questions, but identify the ones to which you are responding. Please make your points in your own words. Some issues you may wish to address are suggested below.
1. The proposal does not give adequate consideration to all the significant stakeholder groups. GA is a £1.4 billion industry regulated by the CAA, but it is barely mentioned in passing. The proposed new CAA priorities (consumers, the environment and safety) in Section 5 should be supplemented by another, perhaps 'business and recreational airspace users'. Point to make - the great majority of UK aircraft and their operators are hardly mentioned in this document.
2. Concerning planning, management and control of airspace, the interests of the End User/consumer, if made paramount, will inevitably lead to airspace and ATC problems for GA. See Q8.1/8.2 (p64) and Q8.5/8.6 (p67) for the blinkered view taken by those drafting this document. They appear to think that only the travelling public (end-users) and 'intermediate users' (e.g. airlines providing services to end-users) exist.
3. The civil sanctions proposed (Section 12, p83) will encourage the CAA to get involved in all sorts of minor and technical breaches of the ANO which it currently does not choose to do. This is equivalent to fixed penalty notices on the roads, and despite good intentions will lead to the same sort of perverse incentives and abuses that are so prominent and unpopular for drivers. This could be a stick with which to beat GA pilots, and should be opposed. The law is available, the courts provide a remedy where serious offences are committed. The status quo is fine.
4. The 'industry' will pay for the CAA's proposed new activities protecting the consumer and the environment, although these are public benefits. The 'impact assessment' provided is a sham, and gives no estimates for most of the proposed extra costs! Presumably the industry (they mean airlines) will ensure that the end-user (the travelling public) eventually pays for the benefits provided by the CAA. For much of GA and particularly for private aviators like LAA members, this is inequitable and will lead to higher CAA charges for licensing, small businesses and aerodromes, etc.
You can respond to the DfT either by email or by post to this address:
Regulating Air Transport Consultation
Aviation Regulatory and Consumer Policy
1/25 Great Minster House
LAA Vice Chair