The CAA (owned by airlines) produces advice to government to increase capacity in the south east

The CAA has now produced the third of its three “Insight Papers” for the DfT.  It hopes these will influence the formation of new UK aviation policy, on which a public consultation will start in March. The CAA is not a neutral government agency; its membership is entirely airlines and air travel companies, and all its funding comes from them. It is therefore entirely biased in favour of aviation growth. The latest Insight Note, entitled “Aviation Policy for the Future” wants more airport capacity in the south east. It also wants policies to keep the price of flying cheap, and stresses the importance of aviation growth to the UK’s economic prosperity, while keeping remarkably silent on the impact of air travel in taking UK money out of the country. It includes strange suggestions on noise like introducing a cap and trade system, and increasing the degree of community trust in airports.

[This shows how the CAA is a mouthpiece for the aviation industry (which owns it) rather than an independent regulator – see below – that is trying to reduce the impacts of the industry. Its aim is to get growth for the aviation industry, and try to gloss over any difficulties or public opposition to achieving that growth]

Without An Aviation Policy That Enables Capacity Growth UK Air Passengers Will Suffer, CAA Warns Government

10.1.2012  (CAA website)

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today advised Government that without a credible, long-term Aviation Policy Framework that focuses on consumers, not airlines or airports, and allows capacity to develop sustainably, it is likely that prices will rise, route choice will drop and the UK economy will suffer.

Andrew Haines, CAA Chief Executive, said: “Additional capacity would offer significant benefits for consumers, and for the UK as a whole, so long as it is delivered in an environmentally sustainable way. However, as we haven’t built a single runway in the south east of England capable of handling Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s for over 70 years, the difficulty of increasing capacity is obvious. This underlines the importance of an integrated policy framework that addresses environmental and planning dimensions as well as consumer need.

“The challenge facing the Government is to create an aviation policy that stands the test of time – not a policy for five years, but one for thirty years. If the private sector is to have sufficient confidence to deliver additional capacity then it needs to be convinced that government policy is based on robust evidence and is likely to last for at least a generation.”

In Aviation Policy for the Future, published today, the CAA says that safety must always be the sector’s priority, but following that, the Government should focus on improving life for consumers, so long as it is environmentally sustainable.

This consumer focus should secure choice and value in aviation services. UK consumers should have direct access to key global markets, which in practice is likely to mean Government supporting sustainable hub operations. Consumers who do not live in the south of the country already have to use a variety of hubs to travel internationally, and Government should encouraged continued access to a range of European hub airports. In addition, the framework should seek to ensure that the very high levels of short-haul connectivity that consumers enjoy are at least maintained at current levels.

Today, 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.

However, in the South East, although a number of measures will help improve use of existing facilities and increase flexibility and resilience; these are essentially short-term fixes and are not enough to maintain the UK’s direct access to global markets alone without additional runway capacity. As such, developing appropriate additional capacity would deliver significant benefits to consumers and wider benefits to the UK economy.     

However, delivering this capacity is not wholly in the Government’s gift, so the Policy must facilitate a credible path to provision of additional capacity.

The CAA has also set out a series of measures the Government could take to tackle the issue of noise nuisance caused by airports, which has had significant impact on previous proposals to increase runway capacity. These include suggesting local measures to benefits residents, such as council tax relief, as well as wider economic instruments like a UK airport-wide cap and trade system for noise similar to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme for CO2 emissions.

In Aviation Policy for the Future, the CAA sets out five criteria it feels any new capacity must meet to be effective:
1. Overall be beneficial to the consumer
2. Be affordable and commercially viable
3. Be operationally feasible
4. Be integrated into the surface transport network
5. Be environmentally sustainable

Government could help to maintain ‘single-stopover’ access to key global markets for all UK consumers, particularly those who live outside the South-East, by supporting access to a UK hub airport from across the UK or exploring with European partners how to secure short-haul access to a network of competing hubs across Europe.

The “Aviation Policy for the Future”  report is at

(additional capacity section on page 34 of  the above document:

“Capacity: • Additional capacity in South-East; • Agnostic on location.”)
Follow the CAA on @UK_CAA

Notes to Editors
1. Aviation Policy for the Future is available on the CAA website here:
2. The only runway long enough to handle Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s built at a major UK airport since the Second World War is at Manchester. In addition, London City Airport opened in the late 1980s, but with a shorter runway unsuitable for all aircraft types.
3. Today’s Insight Note follows the publication of the CAA’s response to the Department for Transport’s Aviation Policy Framework Consultation.
4. Aviation Policy for the Future is the final publication of three Insight Notes published by the CAA in December and January 2012. It was proceeded by Aviation Policy for Consumers (Link: Aviation Policy for Consumers ), published on 14 December 2011 and Aviation Policy for the Environment (Link: Aviation Policy for the Environment) published on 20 December 2011.
5. World Economic Forum data can be found in its Global Competitiveness Report 2011-12.
6. 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.

Comments from AirportWatch members:Noise cap and trade?  So that means –  someone else, somewhere else, is really really quiet and they get paid to be quiet by people being really noisy over crowded built-up areas? I can see how that works. NOT!This is very disappointing from the CAA.  The new CEO Andrew Haines, who came from the railways, and some of their staff have said they want to take more account of the environment.  The proposals here certainly show they don’t under the problem of aviation noise.

The FT stated that: “The CAA estimates that, without extra runway capacity, consumers would face fare premiums from airlines worth £1.7bn each year by 2030, which equates to £10 per passenger on a return flight.”   link 

More from the CAA website:

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 then 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 consensus 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 achieved 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 achieve 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. 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 considers how UK aviation can grow without unacceptable environmental consequences in terms of climate change, noise and local air quality.

Aviation Policy for the Future considers 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 “Aviation Policy for the Future”  report is at 


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 AirportIt 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.”