PDF Icon General Aviation Challenge Panel: interim report

The General Aviation Challenge Panel have published an interim report to ministers, on the regulation of the general aviation (GA) sector, grouped into themes. Among the key recommendations are:

CAA Oversight

The Panel therefore recommends that, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)’s current duties should be extended so that it should consider opportunities to enable UK GA to contribute to economic growth.


The Panel believes that the CAA should provide greater transparency and clearer justification for the level of its charges.

Culture and Communication

The Panel considers that significant attention should be given to the way the CAA engages and communicates with the GA community, with particular emphasis on improving the quality of written publications.

Safety Regulation

The Panel recommends that the CAA outlines steps to protect and reward good management of total system safety in accordance with effective risk assessment. The Government should also consider creating a legal framework to support individual decision makers on their application of good safety management principles.


The Panel believes that controlled airspace should be designed to reflect practical operational requirements laterally and vertically and not theoretical requirements based on often over optimistic forecasts of commercial traffic usage.

Planning Protection

The Panel recognises a need to secure a network of GA aerodromes which would in addition provide improved opportunities for regional connectivity for many areas not regularly served by the commercial aviation network and also have a role in facilitating lifesaving air ambulance operations and civil protection. However, the trend of losing airports and airfields used by GA will hinder this and reduce their wider economic benefits. There may be many factors relating to the closure of airfields but the designation of some of them as brownfield sites makes them attractive to local planning authorities and owners to redevelop or sell them for others uses, in particular to meet housing stock demands. The Panel has begun work with DCLG to explore opportunities to protect aerodromes from redevelopment.

Growth Projects

The Panel believes that research into the direct and indirect benefits of GA to the UK economy would be worthwhile and would help determine what interventions might be appropriate to promote growth.