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).
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
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
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. 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.
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.
1 Draft Civil Aviation Bill: An effective regulatory
framework for UK aviation.(Four volumes) Cm 8234-I-IV, November
HC Deb, 23 November 2011, WS, Civil Aviation Bill Back
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
ABTA (Ev w2) and TUI Travel plc (Ev w10) have submitted evidence
Ev w12 Back