Official Record Series 1 - Annex 8
1. The procedures relating to Scarce Capacity Allocation Certificates (SCACs) are set out in full in The Civil Aviation (Allocation of Scarce Capacity) Regulations 2007.
2. Where the CAA has been notified by the Secretary of State that there will be scarce capacity on a route, the CAA will publish a notice in its Official Record Series 2, which is issued weekly and is available on the CAA’s website. The notice will state the date from which the CAA considers that it will be necessary to allocate scarce capacity on the route, and that it proposes to invite applications for the allocation of scarce capacity and, if necessary, hold a hearing for the purpose of determining those applications. The notice will specify what information the CAA will require in connection with the application, and the closing date. The CAA will also publish any notification that there is no longer scarce capacity on a route. The CAA will take reasonable measures to draw such notices to the attention of organisations representing Community carriers licensed outside the UK that are unlikely to monitor or be subscribers to the Official Record.
3. Applications for a SCAC can be made by any qualifying carrier . This will include both UK-licensed carriers and Community carriers which are not UK-licensed but which are established in the UK.
4. Applications for the grant, revocation or variation of a SCAC should be made to Airline Licensing and Consumer Issues at the CAA’s Consumer Protection Group, at the address in Part 5. All applications should be made on the appropriate form, which may be obtained from the same address or from the Consumer Protection Group pages of the CAA website. The CAA will publish any applications in its Official Record Series 2. With effect from 1 April 2009 the CAA has introduced a charge of £15,000 for SCAC applications. This charge forms part of the CAA Scheme of Charges and the CAA expects to review it annually.
5. The CAA may refuse to consider an application for the grant, revocation or variation of a SCAC if it has been made less than four months before the SCAC (or variation) is proposed to take effect. The CAA may accept applications on shorter notice, although they will in most cases be subject to a minimum period to allow for the publication process as set out below. The CAA may also refuse to consider applications where the applicant has failed to provide all the information and documents required or failed to pay the applicable charge.
6. There will be routes where the conditions of scarce capacity cease to exist or change, or where there are SCAC applications from carriers on an existing capacity-constrained route. In such cases it may be appropriate for the CAA to propose to revoke or vary any relevant SCAC. The CAA will publish any such proposal in the Official Record Series 2.
7. An “objection period” will be allowed after publication of any application or proposal, during which objections or representations may be served on the CAA. The normal objection period is 21 days, unless the CAA is satisfied that for reasons of urgency it is desirable to specify a shorter period. Any objection or representation must state whether the person making it wishes to be heard. A qualifying carrier making an objection or representation must serve a copy on every applicant within 24 hours, and can require the applicant to provide a copy of the application. The CAA will serve a copy of other objections and representations on applicants within seven days indicating whether the person wishes to be heard.
8. The Regulations specify who has a right to be heard and can therefore oblige the CAA to hold a hearing. It is highly likely that a hearing will be necessary where the Secretary of State has determined that there is a need for the CAA to allocate scarce capacity, or where there is an objection to an application for grant or variation of a SCAC. The CAA has discretion to hear any person not specified as having a right to be heard.
9. The CAA will aim to arrange hearings as quickly as possible, consistent with ensuring natural justice and allowing all parties to prepare evidence. As most scarce capacity cases will be relatively urgent, the CAA will endeavour to announce the date of the hearing within one month of being notified by the Secretary of State, and will aim for the date itself to be within a month of that announcement, but at least 14 days’ notice will be given. Once a hearing date has been announced it will be changed only for compelling reasons.
10. The hearings will normally be held in public although in some circumstances the CAA can decide otherwise. The CAA will record the proceedings in writing and will normally make a transcript generally available for a reasonable fee. Requests for a transcript should be made to the CAA as soon as possible after the hearing.
11. The timetable for the submission of written evidence may need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, but the CAA will normally expect to receive written evidence from applicants no less than 10 working days before the hearing date, and from objectors no less than five working days before the hearing date. Once the CAA has received all written submissions, it will normally issue a Statement of Key Issues, if possible at least three working days before the hearing, to which it will expect the parties to have regard at the hearing. In the event that one party fails to deliver its evidence on time, the CAA will consult the other parties as to whether the hearing should be postponed.
12. The CAA has a discretionary power to hold a preliminary meeting to discuss the conduct of the hearing, although this may not be considered necessary in all cases.
13. The length of time taken to reach a decision will depend on the circumstances of each application. The CAA will aim to issue its written decision and SCAC authorisation (see Schedule 8) within 15 working days of the end of the hearing, or as quickly as possible thereafter. The CAA will publish its decision with reasons in the Official Record Series 2.
14. The Regulations make it an offence to operate for reward any service on a capacity-constrained route without an appropriate SCAC, and they permit the CAA if necessary to detain the aircraft.
15. There is no further appeal from the decision of the CAA. The CAA procedure is however subject to the jurisdiction of the Court by way of judicial review.
See also Annex 9: CAA Guidance on the Economic Framework for Considering Cases Relating to the Allocation of Scarce Bilateral Capacity