Select Committee on Transport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 296-299)


18 JANUARY 2006

  Q296 Chairman: Good afternoon, gentlemen. Can I ask you to introduce yourselves for the record, starting on my left, your right.

  Mr Wilshire: I am Roger Wilshire. I am the Secretary General of the British Air Transport Association representing UK registered airlines.

  Mr Cahn: I am Andrew Cahn, Director of Government and Industry Affairs at British Airways.

  Mr O'Leary: Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive of Ryanair.

  Mr Churchill-Coleman: Richard Churchill-Coleman, Group Legal Counsel for TUI UK.

  Mr Humphreys: Barry Humphreys, Director of External Affairs and Route Development, Virgin Atlantic Airways.

  Q297  Chairman: Does anyone have anything brief to say before we begin questions?

  Mr Wilshire: On behalf of UK registered airlines on the panel this afternoon, I would like to thank you for inviting us. In a highly regulated and international business, we believe the CAA is a very professional and very well-respected aviation regulator, and relationships between the UK airlines and the regulator are generally quite good. However, the CAA does face a number of external challenges and we believe needs to change to adapt to these circumstances, therefore we welcome this inquiry and the opportunity this afternoon to give further evidence to you.

  Q298  Chairman: Thank you. We are always delighted to be welcomed by somebody. Mr Cahn, British Airways says that the CAA was effectively a collection of four separate regulators. Can you give us some examples where you believe the present structure has affected the CAA's customers negatively?

  Mr Cahn: I do not think the structure has necessarily affected the customers negatively except that you have four regulatory areas all under one group. I think it is open to question whether this is the ideal structure. All we would suggest is that the time is right for looking again at the structure, it has not been looked at for 40 years since the Edwards Review in the 1960s. That is why we welcome the inquiry you are conducting today because I think you have identified a lacuna which needs to be looked at.

  Q299  Chairman: Are you suggesting that the CAA's economic and commercial activities ought to be transferred to a single transport economic regulator for all modes?

  Mr Cahn: No, I do not think I am. I do not believe there is a conflict between the economic regulation and the safety regulation. I think those two can be conducted by the same organisation. It is absolutely right, however, that there is a clear separation between those two because safety regulation is, of course, always paramount in our business.

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