The report of the independent strategic review of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) carried out by Sir Joseph Pilling was published today by the Department for Transport (DfT), and welcomed by the CAA.
In the report, Sir Joseph states that the evidence showed quickly that the CAA had been and continued to be a highly successful organisation, and says that his recommendations are intended to help a good organisation become even better. He found that under the CAAs regulation, UK aviation had achieved one of the highest levels of aviation safety in Europe; that the CAA has managed safety and economic regulation without conflict and that there are significant advantages to having both functions in the same organisation; and that the CAA has improved its service delivery performance. Key recommendations in the report include: the CAAs legal framework should be modernised and updated; the CAA should have a general statutory duty in relation to the environment with a clear policy framework from Government; the DfT should propose amending the existing legislation to remove the automatic statutory reference to the Competition Commission in setting airport price caps and establish the organisation as the appellate body; the CAAs governance structure should be brought into line with the practice in most other regulatory bodies, by appointing both a non-executive Chair and a Chief Executive; the CAA should continue its work on developing consumer policy, and the DfT should propose legislation to put the status and functions of the Air Transport Users Council (AUC) as a specific aviation consumer body on a firm statutory basis; and the DfT review of the economic regulation of airports should consider whether the CAAs current duty towards users should be amended to give greater weight to passengers or consumers. This is the first time that there has been a review of the CAAs legal and governance framework, which has evolved over 35 years, since the organisation was set up by statute. This review emerged out of a recommendation from the Transport Select Committees scrutiny in 2006 of the CAA. Sir Roy McNulty, CAA Chairman, commented: We welcomed this review as an opportunity to improve the way the CAA works and to ensure that it is well placed to fulfil its remit, both now and in the future. We are pleased that Sir Joseph found the CAA to be a world class regulator and we support his recommendations, which should help prepare the CAA for the future. The CAA will now work with the DfT in planning the implementation of the reports recommendations. The Report of the Strategic Review of the CAA by Sir Joseph Pilling is available on the DfT website here http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/aviation/domestic/pillingreview.PDF