References to EU regulation or EU websites in our guidance will not be an accurate description of your obligations or rights under UK law.read more
As the UK's aviation regulator we work so that:
We are a public corporation, established by Parliament in 1972 as an independent specialist aviation regulator. The UK Government requires that our costs are met entirely from charges to those we provide a service to or regulate.
Most aviation regulation and policy is harmonised across the world to ensure consistent levels of safety and consumer protection. Worldwide safety regulations are set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and within Europe by the European Aviation Safety Agency.
We run the
ATOL holiday financial protection scheme.
We also economically regulate some
airports and certain aspects of
air traffic control.
Our consumer panel acts as a ‘critical friend’ providing a consumer perspective on all aspects of our work.
We take action to make sure airlines systematically display airfares transparently, for example including all unavoidable charges such as taxes in the headline price. This allows consumers to compare prices from different airlines and choose the flight that best meets their needs.
More information is in the passenger section of our website.
We regulate all UK airports to ensure they comply with relevant international and UK safety standards.
More information on airport safety.
We only regulate service standards and the maximum amount airlines are charged to use airports at airports that have significant market power. This currently applies to Heathrow, with additional formal airport charge and service monitoring in place for Gatwick
Our regulation of airport charges is designed to ultimately ensure passengers and other airport users benefit from fair charges and services.
We consider and decide on airspace change proposals that are submitted to us, taking into account safety, efficiency and noise impact on local communities.
How airspace changes are decided
We do not instigate airspace changes or design flight paths ourselves as, these are instigated by the aviation community industry e.g. airports, general aviation or NATS.
In addition, the Government sets the policy approach for use of airspace and airspace change proposal decisions taken by the CAA e.g. narrow flight paths v dispersed flights over a wider area.
We are clear that without additional aviation capacity in the UK, passengers will suffer from less choice, more disruption and higher airfares. We are also clear that it is equally important for the industry to tackle the environmental impacts of aviation. Without reducing environmental impacts, the sector will not be able to grow.
We do not decide where new runways should be built. The decision on where to develop additional runway capacity lies with Government, which is currently considering the Airports Commission's recommendations.
We regulate security arrangements at UK airports, air carriers, cargo and in-flight suppliers to ensure that the relevant entities comply with UK and international security requirements.
We do not regulate security at airports outside of the UK, including for flights travelling to UK airports. The UK Government leads on international aviation security matters and UK airport security policy, including the setting of security standards.
We provide permission for operators looking to use drones for commercial purposes, as well as providing advice to the general public and industry on how to fly drones safely and reduce any risk to aviation.
Information on flying drones safely
Proposals for new regulations governing drones use (mandatory registration, for example) are a matter for Government.
The Government has said publicly it plans to consult on registration in 2016.
We challenge industry to take greater action to reduce the environmental impact of its activity and have legal powers to provide information about the environmental impact of aviation where it would help passengers make more informed decisions.
More information is available from the environment section of our website.
We monitor aviation noise levels around 3 UK airports designated by the Government (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted) and provide information and expert advice to Government and industry on noise matters.
We do not have the power to force airlines or other parts of industry to take certain actions on air quality issues. environmental impacts.
Noise is not a statutory nuisance in the UK.
Like most regulators in the UK, we are funded by the charges we levy on the industry we regulate.
We are not funded by the UK tax payer and are legally required to cover the cost of our regulatory activity through charges on the industry.
We provide oversight of independent aeromedical examiners and centres to ensure European-wide medical standards are met and pilots continue to undergo robust and effective medical assessments.
There are three aeromedical centres in the UK and nearly 200 independent aeromedical examiners in the UK.
More information is available from the medical section of our website.
We do not deliver initial medical assessments of pilots or air traffic controllers ourselves.
We regulate UK travel companies - through the ATOL scheme - to make sure they are financially sound to enter the market and their customers are protected in case of company failure.
We do not regulate travel companies' service standards e.g. the quality of the hotel, or customer service.Information on how to resolve travel problems is available on our website.
Letter of reply to Secretary of State Priorities for the Civil Aviation Authority from the CAA Chair, January 2021 (CAP2094)
Reply to Secretary of State Priorities for the Civil Aviation Authority, December 2020 (CAP2002)
Letter from Secretary of State: Secretary of State Priorities for the Civil Aviation Authority, December 2020 (CAP2001)
Letter from Secretary of State on the Airspace Change Organising Group (ACOG), November 2019 (CAP1889)
Reply to Secretary of State Priorities for the Civil Aviation Authority, November 2019 (CAP1874)
Letter from Secretary of State: Secretary of State Priorities for the Civil Aviation Authority, October 2019 (CAP1873)
CAA Strategic Plan 2016-2021
Letter from Secretary of State: CAAs Strategic Objectives, October 2013 (CAP 1552)
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)
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