How to Make a Complaint about the CAA

Guidance on the process for complaints relating to CAA staff or services

This complaints process covers complaints about the CAA or our service, it is not for making complaints to us about the companies we regulate.

Take a look at our complaints frequently asked questions.

Details of how to complain to the CAA about other organisations can be found in our complaints policy.

Making an informal complaint

We recommend you try an informal approach to resolve your issue in the first instance as it could be quicker and might be all that is needed to sort things out. 

Even though it may be informal, we should still tell you what can be done to deal with your complaint and how and when we can respond.  If this informal route is not suitable for your particular complaint or you have already tried to resolve an issue this way you may choose to take a more formal approach.

Making a formal complaint

We have a two-stage complaints process. At each stage, it helps us to deal quickly with your complaint if you can state that you are making a complaint, set out clearly your concern, give us as much information as possible, and include any documents or correspondence in support of your complaint.

  • Stage one: On receipt of your complaint, we will ask an appropriate manager in the relevant department or team to deal with it. We expect most complaints to be resolved at this stage.
  • Stage two: If you are dissatisfied with this response, you may request a review by a senior manager in the relevant department or team. This may be a Head of Department or Director. You should request a review of the original Stage one response within 28 days of receiving it.

How to complain

The preferred method is to use our online complaints form to submit your comments.

Alternatively you can contact us by post using the following address:

External Response Team (Complaints)
Civil Aviation Authority
Gatwick Airport South
West Sussex

Our standards for handling complaints

  • We will accept complaints in writing, by email or letter
  • We will treat all complaints seriously
  • We will treat you fairly and courteously
  • We will deal with your complaint promptly
    • We will acknowledge initial receipt of a written complaint within five working days of receipt
    • We will send you a full reply within 20 working days of receipt of the complaint
    • If we cannot respond fully within 20 working days of receipt of the complaint we will tell you, explain why, and tell you when we will be able to reply in full
    • If you ask for our response to be reviewed in line with Stage two of our Complaints Procedure, we will acknowledge this within 5 working days of receipt, and respond fully within 20 working days.
  • All complaints will be logged so that we can monitor the types of complaints received and the time taken to respond to them, and identify the best way of dealing with them
  • We will publish information in our annual report about the number and types of complaints we receive, and the percentage upheld.
  • We will handle your personal information in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.


When we get things wrong we will:

  • Accept responsibility
  • Explain what went wrong and why
  • Put things right by making any necessary changes required

If you remain dissatisfied

If, having followed the two stages of our complaints procedure, you are still not satisfied, you can contact your Member of Parliament and ask for your complaint to be referred to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can carry out independent investigations into complaints that injustice has been caused by maladministration on the part of UK government departments and some public bodies, including the CAA. You can find out who your MP is at and write to them at:

House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

Persistent or vexatious complaints

If a complainant becomes unreasonably persistent or vexatious, we may choose not to deal with their subsequent complaints in accordance with this policy. The Parliamentary Ombudsman defines unreasonably persistent complainants as: “those who, because of the frequency or nature of their contact with the authority, hinder the authority’s consideration of their or other people’s complaints.”