CAA (whose membership is airlines and travel companies) says London has good connectivity now, but will need more airport capacity in future

The CAA, whose membership is air travel companies and operators, has produced an “insight note” to add to its contribution to input into the government’s work on developing a new aviation policy for the UK. There will be another major consultation on this next spring. The CAA says that whereas London has good connectivity now, “We conclude that choice, value and resilience are all likely to be affected in the absence of additional aviation capacity.”  ie. The airlines and the tour operators want more airport capacity, and the CAA is lobbying for them.

Aviation policy must protect consumers as airport capacity constraints threaten the UK’s preeminent position

 [The CAA report concludes that:  They have “Considered the likely implications for consumers of forecast demand growth. We conclude that choice, value and resilience are all likely to be affected in the absence of additional aviation capacity.”   Page 38 of ]


14.12.2011 (CAA press release)

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today advised the Government that although currently the UK is extremely well-connected, that situation is changing and will not last without a robust aviation policy setting out clear objectives for the future.

In its Insight Note Aviation Policy for Consumers, published today, the CAA has set out the view that the Government needs to put the people who use airports at the heart of its thinking when it consults on its Aviation Policy next spring.

At present, most people in the UK have excellent access to airports, with around 90% of the population living within two hours travel of at least two airports serving international destinations and 70% within one hour of one airport. This level of choice is currently unrivalled in Europe.

That position will soon be tested by increasing capacity constraints in the South East, which will increasingly limit the choice and value of available flights. Limited supply means the price of air travel is likely to rise.

While London is well connected now, capacity constraints at London’s airports may already mean that their airlines are less able than those at other European airports to try out new routes to emerging markets. The lack of available capacity at Heathrow is already beginning to affect the UK’s air services agreements with foreign states.

Consumers who do not live in the south of the country already have to use a variety of hubs to travel internationally, and the Insight Note sets out the importance for UK consumers of maintaining a good network of European transfer airports. Although other European airports are competitors for the industry, for consumers they increase choice and value.

Iain Osborne, CAA Director of Regulatory Policy, said: “We frequently hear that the UK is losing out to Europe in its aviation network and that there is a connectivity crisis in London. The data we’ve published shows that there is no crisis today: London is one of the world’s best connected cities and the UK punches well above its weight internationally in its air links.

“However, capacity constraints mean airports may become increasingly specialised in the routes they offer and the airlines that fly them. Government needs to recognise this and ensure that its aviation policy has the consumer interest at its heart.

“This review offers a chance to weigh up what approach to future airport capacity is likely to best serve UK passengers as a whole, rather than only considering what works well for the South East.”

The CAA also reemphasised its message that when setting its objectives for aviation, the Government must be mindful that a privatised aviation industry will deliver solutions better if Government sets high-level objectives and allows industry to use its own innovation meet those objectives. Government is not best placed to plan detailed investment blue-prints.

Notes to editors;

1. Aviation Policy for Consumers is available on the CAA website:
2. Today’s Insight Note follows the publication of the CAA’s response to the Department for Transport’s Aviation Policy Framework Consultation.
3. Aviation Policy for Consumers is the first of three Insight Notes to be published by the CAA. It will be followed in January 2012 by Aviation Policy for the Environment and Aviation Policy for the Future.
4. The CAA is the UK’s specialist aviation regulator. Its regulatory activities range from making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards to preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency.


Aviation Policy: Contributing to a Sustainable Aviation Framework for the UK

Role of the CAA

The Government is currently undertaking a thorough review of aviation policy for the UK.In his February 2011 letter to the CAA Chair setting out his priorities for the CAA, the Secretary of State requested that the CAA contributes to the Government’s aim to promote sustainable aviation by providing advice to inform the development of a sustainable aviation policy framework for the UK. A copy of his letter is here.The Economic Policy and International Aviation (EPIA) team within the CAA leads on advising on the Government’s aviation policy development and is responsible for taking a forward a programme of work to ensure we contribute effectively to the Government’s work in developing a sustainable aviation framework and help to forge a consesus on the issues raised.The CAA recognises that there is a pressing need for a robust and sustainable policy framework in order that the aviation industry delivers the choice and value that UK aviation consumers demand whilst ensuring that local and global environmental challenges are met.

CAA’s contributions to a Sustainable Aviation Framework

In the CAA’s response to the Government’s 2011 scoping consultation we set out how clarity and durability can be acheived by formulating the policy framework at two distinct levels:

The strategic level: the Government needs to set broad objectives and the outcomes it is seeking to acheive which will deliver those objectives.The implementation level: the Government then needs to set out steps that it intends to take to bring about the outcomes; ensuring that Government only intervenes where it has the ability to drive forward strategy.

The CAA has committed to publish a series of three Insight Notes to build on this initial contribution:
– Aviation Policy for Consumers is the first document in the series (Dec 2011).. It considers the issue of connectivity from the perspective of current and future consumers. In particular, it addresses the implications of forecast demand growth for the choice and value offered to UK consumers.

– Aviation Policy for the Environment will consider how UK aviation can grow without unacceptable environmental consequences in terms of climate change, noise and local air quality.

– Aviation Policy for the Future: Creating a Sustainable Framework will consider a number of the challenges that will need to be addressed to ensure that the framework provides both a robust strategic platform for the successful delivery of investment, and the improvements to the UK aviation system required to meet the needs of aviation consumers and the UK economy.

[The report “Aviation Policy for Consumers” concludes that:  They have “Considered the likely implications for consumers of forecast demand growth. We conclude that choice, value and resilience are all likely to be affected in the absence of additional aviation capacity.]

Comment from an AirportWatch member:

People may think of CAA as being an arm of Government, ignoring the significance of the suffix to its WEB address – it’s just another aviation lobbying group, part-owned by the industry and part-staffed by those nice people who enter via the revolving door between CAA and DfT.



Wikipedia, on the CAA says: 

The CAA employs just over 1,000 staff, mainly in two offices, CAA House in KingswayHolborn in London and Aviation House, next to London Gatwick Airport. It does not get any direct government funding, but runs entirely on subscriptions from its member companies. It is classed as a public corporation in the public sector. The connection it has with the government is via the Machinery of Government and Standards Group of the Cabinet Office.

Its members are Air travel companies and operators




The responsibilities of the Civil Aviation Authority
” … the CAA advises the Government on aviation issues, represents consumer interests, conducts economic and scientific research, produces statistical data and provides specialist services. The UK Government requires that the CAA’s costs are met entirely from its charges on those whom it regulates.  Unlike many countries, including the other EASA member states, there is no direct Government funding of the CAA’s work.”




Dame Deirdre Hutton appointed as first female chair of the Civil Aviation Authority


Chair and Chief
Executive Statement
Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair and Andrew Haines, Chief Executive

Andrew Haines, Chief Executive, UK Civil Aviation Authority
Aviation Club speech 18 March 2010