The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today announced the appointment of two senior figures to key leadership roles within its recently merged safety and airspace functions. Rob Bishton, a senior airline executive with a wealth of industry experience will take over as Head of the CAA’s Flight Operations department, while Tony Rapson, a former Royal Air Force Group Captain, air traffic controller and aviation policy expert, will head up the brand new General Aviation Unit.
Rob Bishton joins the CAA from Fastjet Plc, where he is the Group Operations Director. He had previously enjoyed several prominent positions with easyJet, including Head of Flight and Aircraft Operations and Chief Pilot, and Astraeus Airlines as Director of Flight Operations and Flight Training Manager. Rob is still a current A320 and B737 captain and instructor and was formerly type rated on B757s and 767s. He has also held helicopter type ratings.
Tony Rapson is currently seconded from the CAA to the Department for Transport (DfT) as the UK’s policy lead for the implementation of the Single European Sky legislation. Following a 27 year career in the RAF, including tours in the Ministry of Defence, Air Command Headquarters and as Officer Commanding the London Air Traffic Control Centre (Military), he joined the CAA as an airspace policy expert in 2008. He was instrumental in the development of the Future Airspace Strategy, in the context of the Single European Sky, before moving to the DfT in 2012 to lead negotiations with the European Commission on this complex and sensitive subject at an economic and politically challenging time.
Welcoming both appointments, Mark Swan, Director of the CAA’s Safety and Airspace Regulation Group, said: “I am delighted that we have two such high calibre individuals joining our team. Rob and Tony bring a wealth of relevant knowledge and experience to the CAA which will prove invaluable to the organisation. I am very confident that the aviation industry will benefit from their dedication and focus.”
Rob Bishton replaces the retiring Bob Jones as the CAA’s Head of Flight Operations and is due to take up his role in March.
The General Aviation Unit was established by the CAA following the Government’s Red Tape Challenge consultation into how the CAA regulates the GA sector. The Unit will be dedicated to a more proportionate, effective, regulation that supports and encourages a dynamic general aviation sector for the UK. The Unit will be operational by April 2014, but Tony Rapson will return full time to the CAA this month.
Photos of Rob Bishton and Tony Rapson are available on request.
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The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.