Draft Civil Aviation Bill - Transport Committee Contents


1  Introduction

Publication of the draft bill

1. The draft Civil Aviation Bill was published on 23 November 2011. It comprises three parts with 103 clauses and 10 schedules and is accompanied by explanatory notes prepared by the Department for Transport (DfT).[1]

2. The main feature of the draft bill is changes to the system of economic regulation of airports by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The current system of setting price caps for the major airports on a fixed five-yearly basis will be replaced by a more flexible licensing system. The bill also includes changes to the CAA's remit, governance structure and powers. Thirdly, it includes the transfer of security operation regulatory functions from the DfT to the CAA. Announcing the publication of the draft bill, the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, said

    The publication of the draft Civil Aviation Bill today marks an important step in this Government's desire to put passengers at the heart of airport operations. The proposals are designed to modernise key elements of the regulatory framework for civil aviation in the UK, to enable the sector to increase its contribution to economic growth without compromising high standards.[2]

Pre-legislative scrutiny

3. The draft bill was originally developed by the previous Government, following a report by the Transport Select Committee. In the Queen's Speech 2010 the Government announced that it would publish an Airport Economic Regulation Bill in draft form for pre-legislative scrutiny. The transport security measures have been added subsequently. However, it is now expected that the bill itself will be introduced in January 2012, thus truncating the opportunity for pre-legislative scrutiny. It is very disappointing that the Government has chosen to reduce the scrutiny period so drastically. Nevertheless, we welcome the chance to look at the bill in draft.

4. Within three weeks of publication of the draft bill we had received private briefings from the DfT and CAA, received written evidence, held two oral evidence sessions and visited Manchester Airport. We were assisted throughout by our specialist aviation adviser, Louise Congdon, Managing Partner of York Aviation LLP.[3] We thank witnesses for meeting our deadlines in contributing to our inquiry. It is unfortunate that Government will probably not be able to consider our recommendations before introducing the bill but we request a Government response in time for the committee stage.

5. Though not in the draft bill, the Government has stated that it may also include measures to reform the Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL) scheme in the bill. We have arranged to hear evidence on ATOL on 31 January and intend to report on this issue in due course.[4]

6. In 2011 we invited written evidence on the Civil Aviation Act 2006, as part of our post-legislative scrutiny function. We received three submissions: from BAA Airports Ltd, TUI Travel plc and the CAA which we have published with this report.[5]


1   Draft Civil Aviation Bill: An effective regulatory framework for UK aviation.(Four volumes) Cm 8234-I-IV, November 2011 Back

2   HC Deb, 23 November 2011, WS, Civil Aviation Bill Back

3   Louise Congdon made a formal declaration of interests which can be found in the formal minutes of the Transport Committee, Session 2010-12, Appendix B.  Back

4   ABTA (Ev w2) and TUI Travel plc (Ev w10) have submitted evidence already. Back

5   Ev w12 Back


 
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Prepared 19 January 2012