Our Role

Information on our work and strategic objectives

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which is a public corporation, was established by Parliament in 1972 as an independent specialist aviation regulator and provider of air traffic services (the air traffic control body NATS was separated from the CAA in the late 1990s and became a public / private partnership organisation in 2001).

The UK Government requires that the CAA’s costs are met entirely from its charges on those whom it regulates. Unlike many other countries, there is no direct Government funding of the CAA’s work.

What we do:


The CAA regulates (approximately):

  • Active professional and private pilots (50,000)
  • Licensed aircraft engineers (12,400)
  • Air traffic controllers (2,350)
  • Commercial Air Operators, including airlines (206)
  • Licensed aerodromes (141)
  • Organisations involved in the design, production and maintenance of aircraft (950)
  • ATOL holders (2,400)
  • Aircraft registered in the UK (19,000)

We have two main offices, in London on the Kingsway and close to Gatwick Airport. Our airspace, consumer policy and ATOL teams are all based in London, with colleagues regulating safety mostly based in Gatwick and a series of smaller regional offices.

Strategic Objectives:


Our work is focussed on:

  • Enhancing aviation safety performance by pursuing targeted and continuous improvements in systems, culture, processes and capability.
  • Improving choice and value for aviation consumers now and in the future by promoting competitive markets, contributing to consumers' ability to make informed decisions and protecting them where appropriate.
  • Improving environmental performance through more efficient use of airspace and make an efficient contribution to reducing the aviation industry's environmental impacts.
  • Ensuring that the CAA is an efficient and effective organisation which meets Better Regulation principles

International Consultancy:

As a wholly owned subsidiary of the CAA, CAA International (CAAi) is a leading, globally recognised aviation consultancy company that delivers and promotes best practice in aviation governance and education. CAAi provides technical advisory services across a range of aviation related activities, environmental consulting, professional training, aviation examination services and certification against internationally recognised quality management standards. CAAi's work contributes to enhancing safety standards worldwide.

How we work: