The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today announced the outcome of its consultation on charges for air displays. The regulator has reaffirmed its commitment to the air show industry and highlighted the importance of new safety enhancements being introduced. The CAA is not funded by the tax payer and therefore these charges must be met by the industry. However, the CAA has recognised the possible and immediate impact these increased charges could have on air show organisers and has therefore implemented a phased introduction of the new fees over the next three years.
An extensive review of air show safety has been carried out by the CAA, following the tragic accident at the Shoreham Air Show in August 2015. As part of the review a series of additional safety measures have been introduced that air shows must now meet in order to go ahead, including carrying out enhanced risk assessments. Tougher checks and training requirements for pilots and display directors are also being introduced.
The CAA launched a consultation in February on the proposed increases to fees to fund its air show work. This also recognised the historic under-recovery of costs for our regulatory oversight of air displays, although these increases do not seek to recover any historic under-recovery.
While needing to ensure that the new charges are in place, to enable us to introduce these important new safety measures this year, we recognise it may be difficult for some air shows to absorb these additional charges in 2016/17.
Therefore, to reduce the impact on the air display community, the CAA has decided to phase in the introduction of the new air display post event charges. The 2016/17 charges will now be set to recover £100,000 of the expected £200,000 of additional costs, with the remaining £100,000 being absorbed by the CAA.
Andrew Haines, CEO of the CAA, said, “We understand that people care passionately about air shows and we want all events to be a success. We are also very clear that we will not compromise on safety. Enhancing the safety of air shows is essential and this extra work must be funded.
“However, we have listened to the responses and recognise that some shows could face challenges in absorbing the full cost of these changes into this display season. In making our final decision on fees we have therefore decided to phase in the new charges, recovering only half of our costs for the current year.”
“We welcome the opportunity to address with air show organisers any questions or concerns they have around their planned activity for 2016, but safety must be the priority and we are committed to doing all that we can to make air shows even safer in the years to come.”
“In addition to the phased introduction of new fees, we will also review any further requests for assistance from smaller and charitable air show organisers who are concerned about not being able to afford the new charges.”
The Consultation Response document can be found at www.caa.co.uk/cap1388