Liberalisation and Competition

Provision of policy advice and analysis on aviation liberalisation and competition issues in the airline industry.

The CAA has long advocated a liberalised market structure and a reliance to the greatest extent possible on competition rather than regulation as the best way of delivering efficient aviation services and consumer benefits. This would be achieved through the removal of all government-imposed restrictions on the commercial behaviour of airlines, putting aviation on the same footing as other industries.  The CAA has been active in lobbying for such change.  Ultimately the long-term aim would be to achieve open aviation markets across the world. The CAA's views are reflected in its Statement of Policies on Route and Air Transport Licensing.  Follow the link to see how the Statement of Policies has developed and been amended to reflect liberalisation, including the removal of regulation of air fares.

The Economic Policy and International Aviation team provides policy analysis and advice to the UK Government (principally the Department for Transport) on liberalisation and competition issues in the airline industry.  This includes contributing to the development of European Union aviation agreements, to negotiations on bilateral air services agreements between the UK and other countries and conducting economic studies.

The team also plays a key role in cases involving the allocation of scarce traffic rights between competing UK airlines. This situation arises where more than one UK airline seeks to operate services between the UK and a country outside the European Common Aviation Area, but the bilateral air services agreement with that country restricts the number (or nature) of services that can be operated, or the number of carriers that can fly. 

Examples of CAA publications on key policy issues include:

Operating Permits and Traffic Rights for non-UK operators

Non-UK Operators should note that commercial flights to and from the UK that are not exercising traffic rights permitted by virtue of EC Regulation 1008/2008 (on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community (Recast)) will require permission from the Secretary of State in the form of a permit issued by the Department for Transport under Article 223 of the Air Navigation Order. 

Please contact airlineoperatingpermits@dft.gsi.gov.uk.