Consultation on the Implementation of the Civil Aviation Authority (Allocation of Scarce Capacity) Regulations

Outcome of the CAA's proposed implementation of these Regulations


On 3 March 2008 the CAA published a consultation document seeking views on the CAA’s proposed implementation of the above Regulations, which now govern the way that traffic rights are distributed among eligible Community air carriers on routes: 

(a) which are between the United Kingdom and countries outside the single European aviation market; and

(b) where there are insufficient traffic rights available to accommodate the demands of all UK-designated carriers. 

The Regulations introduced a new Scarce Capacity Allocation Certificate (SCAC), replacing the previous system based on conditioning UK route and air transport licences, because Community carriers eligible for UK designation and traffic rights under the UK’s Air Services Agreements may not necessarily be licensed in the UK.  

The consultation document and responses can be seen on the CAA’s website at

The CAA is now going ahead with implementing the proposed changes to its published policies, guidance and procedures, taking into account the responses received.  

(1)            Amendments to the Statement of Policies on Route and Air Transport Licensing

Responses to the consultation:  Respondents supported the proposed changes.

Outcome:  References to scarce capacity are removed from the Statement of Policies on Route and Air Transport Licensing, because scarce capacity is now governed by a different legal framework from the licensing system.

 (2)            Amendments to the Official Record Series 1

Responses to the consultation:  Respondents generally supported the proposed changes.  However, one respondent suggested some improvements to the proposed Annex 8 outlining SCAC procedures and in particular the pre-hearing process.  Most comments related to the timescales that the CAA would expect to apply in the case of a hearing. 

Outcome:  References to scarce capacity are removed from text concerning the licensing system.  A new Part 4 on the SCAC system is added, which includes paragraphs setting out allocation policy.  A new Annex 8 outlines the related procedures.  Within Annex 8, although certain timescales may have to be decided on a case-by-case basis, the CAA has clarified the periods that it expects to allow in respect of:

  • the closing date for applications and for objections (in each case 21 days, unless the CAA is satisfied that for reasons of urgency it is desirable to specify a shorter period);
  • written evidence to be submitted from applicants and objectors (at least 10 and five working days before the hearing respectively);
  • any CAA Statement of Key Issues (at least three working days before the hearing); and
  • programming the hearing (scarce capacity cases generally require an expedited hearing process, and so 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 hearing date itself to be within one month of that announcement, although at least 14 days’ notice of any hearing will be given).

(3)            Separate application charge for a SCAC to recover the cost of scarce capacity hearings

Responses to the consultation:  There were differing views from respondents about the need for a separate charge.  Two respondents supported the principle of a new up-front charge on the grounds that with the change in legislation it was no longer appropriate for hearing costs to be recovered by way of the general charge on all UK licence holders.  One of those respondents reserved judgement on the precise level of the charge until more information was available, and expected to see a commensurate reduction in the general charge.  Two respondents opposed a new charge, on the grounds that the current system of cost recovery was well established and well understood, hearings were very infrequent and airlines licensed by other Member States were unlikely to enter a capacity-constrained market from the UK (and therefore unlikely hearing participants).  One of these respondents said it did not see why it should effectively pay twice for the CAA’s functions.
Outcome:  The CAA will take into account the comments made, in the context of the CAA’s charging principles, when drawing up proposals for 2009/10 charges later in the year.  

(4)        Other comments

Two respondents suggested that, while it was commendable that the UK should amend legislation and policy to accommodate EU carriers licensed outside the UK, the UK should ensure that UK carriers had the same opportunities elsewhere in the Community.  This is a matter for the Department for Transport, who in turn would need to raise this with the European Commission where appropriate.  The CAA has made the DfT aware of these comments.

(5)            Implementation Date

Changes to the Statement of Policies and Official Record series 1 take effect from 8 August 2008.  As explained above, any charge for SCAC applications will be the subject of further consultation.