Memorandum submitted by the Royal Aeronautical
1. The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS)
is the Learned Society for the Aerospace and Aviation community.
Based in London, it has a world-wide membership of over 19,000,
with over 13,000 in the UK. Its Fellows and Members represent
all levels of the aeronautical community both active and retired.
Through its various Boards and Committees, it can draw upon considerable
experience and expertise in aviation matters. In addition, the
Society has over 120 organisations who have joined its Corporate
2. The RAeS welcomes the Committee's inquiry
into the remit of the CAA. The Society has a number of concerns
about the CAA's role, especially in respect to Light and General
Aviation. Nevertheless it should be emphasised that the Society
recognises the important of the CAA to UK aviation and the fundamental
role it plays in ensuring the safety of the general public and
confidence in the construction and operation of aircraft in the
3.1 The Strategic and Regulatory Reviews
initiated by the CAA earlier this year implies a desire on its
part to create a best practice regulatory framework with the minimum
amount of unnecessary bureaucracy; a position consistent with
the Cabinet Office Guidelines Making a Difference study on Reducing
Bureaucracy in Central Civil Government".
3.2 The CAA responsibility for economic
regulation of the industry should be re-defined to ensure a cost-effective,
value for money safety regulation in order to encourage enterprise
and innovation in both commercial and general aviation sectors
of the UK aerospace industry.
4. With respect to the issues you wish to
review, we have the following observations, with some illustrative
4.1.1 Compared to many other countries,
General Aviation in the UK is over-regulated in too many areas
resulting in a high cost environment leading to the loss of aerospace
innovation, companies and jobs in the UK. A good example is the
constraints imposed by the CAA on the experimental use of aircraft.
Other countries such as France, USA, and New Zealand have more
appropriate regulations that encourage innovation.
4.1.2 In order to encourage enterprise and
innovation in Commercial and General Aviation, the CAA should
have a wider range of responsibilities similar to those of comparable
agencies in some other countries. These should:
encourage innovation to create jobs
and exports (eg US, France, NZ);
encourage development of skills by
pilots and aircraft engineers (eg US, Australia);
encourage sport and recreational
flying to create jobs in airfield operations and maintenance (eg
encourage businesses to use General
Aviation aircraft to enhance business performance (eg US); and
In order effectively to fulfill these
responsibilities, the CAA should report to the DOT on safety,
the DTI on innovation, and the DFE on skills.
4.1.3 The CAA requirement to make a financial
return is unreasonably high. The CAA should only be required to
make a 3.5% return on capital, the norm for the public sector,
rather than 6% currently demanded of the CAA.
4.1.4 CAA should be answerable for its decisions
to an independent review body. Currently appeals are heard by
the CAA's own staff.
4.1.5 The CAA's legislative constraints
and Terms of Reference have created an organisation focussed on
regulating Commercial Air Transport, with adverse impact on General
Aviation regulation. This has contributed to the decline of the
UK GA industry.
4.1.6 We are also concerned that there is
a perception that few CAA staff have the appropriate expertise
to understand the specific requirements of General Aviation. CAA
staff should be primarily commercial and/or general aviation professionals.
CAA IN RELATION
4.2.1 More regulation does not necessarily
mean more safety. The UK's safety record for GA is no better than
that of the United Statesand may be marginally worsedespite
the far greater burden that the CAA imposes on general aviation
when compared to the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). The
affordable cost of compliance has reached a level that may be
detrimental to safety in General Aviation.
4.3.1 Pilot training, currency and practice
is the key to safety in general aviation. The ever-increasing
burden of CAA charges on general aviation mean that UK general
aviation pilots are not as current as they could be.
4.3.2 Future flight crew from the UK train
for their qualifications, often at their own expense, within General
Aviation, and frequently do this overseas where the regulatory
costs are less. This means fewer UK jobs in flight training, maintenance
and airfield operation.
4.3.3 On the other hand, the recent introduction
of the National Private Pilots Licence, with reduced limitations
on pilot medicals, training and operations, is an excellent example
of an initiative that balances risk and regulation for the benefit
of all stakeholders.
CAA IN THE
4.4.1 All work of the CAA should be subject
to a Risk based Value for Money Assessment. The CEO of the Australian
Regulatory Authority has stated that We will not turn our backs
on any sections of the industry, but we cannotand will
notcontinue devoting equal time and energy to areas of
industry that pose little risk to public safety."
4.4.2 The CAA should adopt more widely their
power to delegate work to suitably qualified and experienced organisations
or people. For example, delegation of work on aircraft of less
than 5,700kg operated for private, sporting and recreational purposes
to appropriate industry bodies such as the Popular Flying Association
(PFA), British Gliding Association (BGA), and the British Microlight
Aircraft Association (BMAA), or to qualified individuals to make
reports to them on aspects that are perceived to be safety critical.
Such delegation would not have the high level of overheads that
apply to CAA staff, and therefore result in more cost-effective
4.4.3 Quality Assurance principles should
be applied (eg repetitive inspections of airfields, flying schools
and simulators where nothing has changed should be replaced by
an audit system).
4.4.4 It may be that some work could be
done more efficiently and effectively by external agencies (eg
the issue of pilots' licences by the DVLA).
4.4.5 There should be a review of the value
of retaining in house capability to be a knowledgeable authority
(eg Medical, Legal), compared with delegating to external agencies.
4.4.6 Service level agreements should be
agreed between CAA and industry to enable future performance monitoring
and control for what is being paid for by industry.
4.5.1 With the establishment of the European
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) the UK CAA is no longer the UK Regulator
with regard to aircraft design, construction and maintenance.
Within a short time Flight Operations and Flight Crew Licensing
and Training will also come within EASA's area of responsibility.
This will require the UK Government to review and where necessary
revise the Civil Aviation Act.
4.5.2 The Royal Aeronautical Society is
concerned that EASA resources at the present time are reportedly
not sufficient to deal with the tasks and responsibilities required
of it, in a timescale that is appropriate to the needs of the
industry. While direct regulatory responsibility is being transferred
to EASA. the UK Government maintains a responsibility to the Aerospace
industry in the UK to ensure that their activities are not adversely
affected by resourcing issues within EASA.
4.5.3 EASA should publish service delivery
standards so that their clients, who require timely responses
and decisions, understand what is expected and the industry and
member governments have standards against which performance can
4.5.4 With increasing number of responsibilities
being taken over by EASA, the organisation and facilities of CAA
should be reviewed to avoid current overheads being spread over
fewer tasks. However, the employment uncertainties amongst staff
due to EASA expansion could entail a significantly increased risk
of experienced staff leaving. Equally, there is the risk that
EASA recruitment may not be of sufficient immediate quantity or
quality to facilitate urgent or correct judgements in respect
of UK aviation safety and aviation development; certainly on a
cost effectiveness basis. For example, we do not believe that
EASA rules on Operations and Licensing or Glider Certification
entirely meet the UK's needs.
4.5.5 Significant increases in charging
fees will have a major impact on GA costs, and hence the viability
of the GA sector. Whilst we welcome the Charging Scheme reductions
for GA relating to permits to fly" and Aerial Application
Certificates, the increases in many other areas is likely to reduce
safety by influencing pilots to fly less, and reduce jobs if flying
schools and clubs close as a result.
5. In general, the Society would endorse
the views of Bruce Byron, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian
equivalent to CAA, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
He has outlined eight principles for the development of an improved
aviation safety culture in Australia. These stress that aviation
safety is a shared responsibility between the regulator and industry
with the most effective way of achieving safety through co-operation,
A focus by the regulatory authority
on issues that genuinely address safety, not things that simply
create paperwork with little real safety benefit.
Safety rules that are clear, concise
and outcome based.
Rules that are developed in genuine
consultation with industry.
A regulatory authority that limits
any adverse impact on industry, with safety delivered at a reasonable
cost in a professional and timely manner.
Decisions and requirements the regulatory
authority that follow fair, consistent and systemic processes,
with no bias or favouritism.
Genuine consultation by the regulatory
authority on changeand listening to industry suggestions.
A willingness by the regulatory authority
to delegate the administration of lower priority sectors of the
industry such as aerial agriculture and recreational aviationwhile
maintaining safety oversight and conducting audits.
Regulatory authority staff acting
with professional respect and courtesy.
Earlier this year, the Society's concerns were
expressed directly in a letter from its President to Sir Roy McNulty
Chairman of the CAA.
The CAA Charging Schemes are likely to have
a very serious and possibly devastating effect on General Aviation
in the UK, which in turn, may well undermine many aspects of air
transport. Such effects on GA include:
High cost and difficulty involved
for small start up companies to achieve the necessary approvals
to proceed with a prototype.
The impact on smaller AOC operators
and their dependent industries which is likely to drive even more
aircraft off shore or cause businesses to close.
Massive percentage increase in fees
for licensed aerodromes that is likely to result in aerodrome
Massive percentage increase in fees
for aircraft displays that is likely to result in grounding of
The level of these increases appears to be based
on an attempt to remove perceived cross-subsidy, without an appropriate
cost-effectiveness review of alternatives or risk impact assessment
on the whole GA community.
The concern of the Royal Aeronautical Society
is that the ongoing development of the aerospace profession in
the UK may be adversely effected unless a more considered view
of the impact on GA of the proposed charging is undertaken before
commitment by the CAA."
12 November 2005