Select Committee on Transport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 220-227)


11 JANUARY 2006

  Q220  Chairman: They are not always persuaded of course of the improvement in their condition given the extra numbers of flights but I accept what you say.

  Captain Granshaw: And we do not resist it. The industry does not resist the continuing environmental improvements, but at the end of the day it is not the industry that drives itself; the consumer drives the industry and the consumer wants to travel.

  Q221  Chairman: They are usually the ones who go home having got off a plane to write a letter of complaint. Do you think the CAA offers a 24-hour service on a sufficient basis right the way across all of its responsibilities or do you think that too much of it is done on a nine to five basis?

  Mr Eagles: No, on the contrary, I have known Civil Aviation Authority surveyors who have stayed long after hours to finish an aeroplane for me. So certainly the engineering staff are very dedicated to their jobs.

  Q222  Chairman: You did say at one point that there was a not very efficient electronic answering service which means contacting the personnel licensing departments could be very difficult indeed. Was that particularly what you were thinking of?

  Mr Eagles: Yes it was really. Just try it, it is very hard, you just go round and round and round.

  Q223  Chairman: That unfortunately does not make it unique.

  Mr Eagles: No.

  Q224  Chairman: Finally, do you think the CAA is sufficiently accountable to the people it regulates, what Sir Roy called the regulatees?

  Captain Granshaw: Do we think it is sufficiently?

  Q225  Chairman: Accountable?

  Captain Granshaw: My colleagues and I have an issue in the sense that if we were doctors we would regulate our own profession and here we are as safety professionals and we do not regulate our own profession. Sometimes one feels that one attends as a guest, as an observer but not as an equal stakeholder.

  Q226  Chairman: How could that be affected by this so-called called light touch"?

  Captain Granshaw: I do not think the light touch is right for aviation. I think that there is a difference between regulating a biscuit factory and regulating something where safety is in the core of everything you do. I question seriously whether lighter regulation is better for aviation. I think from time to time you need to have a random check, not just one because you have heard something, and really the underpinning suggestions of lighter regulation do leave me wondering whether we are doing the right thing here. When I heard the CAA say they were doing it because it was probably the only way given their resources and staff they could achieve it, it did strike me that it was not their primary, preferred method of regulation, just how they have to do it. It is all spread a little too thin.

  Mr Luxton: I would certainly endorse that.

  Q227  Chairman: Do you think that it would help if the recommendations of the Hampton Report were carried into existence on risk assessment and on concentrating resources in the areas where they are most needed?

  Captain Granshaw: We do not like risk in aviation so the idea of assessing the risk and working that way round is completely wrong for aviation.

  Chairman: You have all been very helpful, gentlemen, and we are enormously grateful to you not only for your written evidence but for what you have said today.

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