• Aviation Futures is the UK’s first regulatory think tank.  

    It exists to bring insight, ideas and approaches from outside of aviation to bear on some of the toughest challenges and questions facing the sector – and the CAA. 

    It is composed of a panel of external experts and CAA colleagues, who work together to interrogate, explore and develop potential solutions to these issues.  

    The aviation industry’s position at the forefront of technological innovation, its highly international nature and its importance to the world economy, mean that regulating it presents many complex challenges and trade-offs.   

    From the integration of drones and flying taxis into UK airspace, to considering how big data and AI will affect the market for air fares, to environmental issues and public perceptions of new technologies, the CAA deals with far reaching, complex policy problems across many areas of its work.  

    Aviation Futures exists to provide fresh thinking and insight on these topics, helping us to bring knowledge, ideas and approaches from outside of the aviation sector to bear on challenges faced by the CAA. The outcomes from Aviation Futures discussions form a key part of the evidence put to the CAA board on difficult topics as well as providing invaluable insights into the development of the CAA’s new Innovation Hub. 

    Aviation Futures’ external panel includes leading experts from areas such a law, communications, finance and the third sector – as well as a former minister and a Nobel prize winner. This diversity of backgrounds and perspectives is crucial in enabling the CAA to approach policy problems in new and interesting ways and to avoid group-think.  

    How we work 

    Aviation Futures meets on a quarterly basis to discuss a different topic, framed around a specific future challenge for the aviation industry or the Civil Aviation Authority. The ideas, observations and conclusions from these discussions are then recorded, distilled and built upon, before being presented to CAA’s board to inform their decision-making processes and innovation priorities. 

    The agenda for Aviation Futures meetings is set in collaboration with external panel members, ensuring that the group’s focus, as well as its conclusions, is determined by a diverse group of perspectives.   

    In this manner, Aviation Futures helps to ensure that high-level decision making and future focus on areas of innovation at the CAA takes a wide array of perspectives, approaches and information into account.

    Aviation Futures: Two-year report

    This report provides an introduction to Aviation Futures, highlights and explores the ideas tacked by the group since its inception and looks forward to the topics it might cover in the future.

    The Aviation Futures panel

    Louise Hanson – Chair of Aviation Futures

    Louise Hanson is Executive Director of Member Experience at the Law Society of England and Wales and is the chair of Aviation Futures.

    Louise joined the Law Society in March 2019. She was formerly the Director of Advocacy at the Association of British Insurers. Louise joined the ABI in 2012 as Head of Strategy and was responsible for the communications and external affairs work, membership and for the development of the ABIs leading role to drive greater diversity and inclusion in the insurance industry. Prior to this she spent 12 years at the consumer group Which? as Head of Advocacy.

    Outside the ABI, Louise chairs the Sheila McKechnie Foundation. 

    Ben Griffiths

    Ben is Communications Director at aviation services company 2Excel and oversees all communications from media relations and public affairs, to internal communications, branding and marketing. He previously led the aerospace and defence practice at PR agency Powerscourt, advising and representing some of the biggest international brands in those industries, including Airbus. 

    The former City News Editor and columnist at the Daily Mail, he had a 20-year career in journalism, during which he was regarded as one of the leading commentators on industry and technology. Ben is a passionate private pilot, flying a vintage de Havilland Chipmunk, and is an active member of numerous aviation organisations, including the Honourable Company of Air Pilots, the Air and Space Power Association and the Aviation Club UK.

    Cary Marsh

    Cary Marsh is an award-winning entrepreneur and innovator, consultant and mentor. She is the founder of two start-ups and the designer of the Bootclaw – which was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter in November 2015, and now an Amazon bestseller and in Sports Direct stores. Cary is a manufacturing Engineering graduate from the University of Nottingham. She regular speaker and STEM ambassador, passionate about inspiring more girls to consider roles in engineering.

    Charlotte Moller

    Charlotte is a partner in Reed Smith’s Restructuring and Insolvency group, based out of London. Charlotte advises on the restructuring of defaulting facilities, enforcement of security, advice to chief restructuring officers and directors of distressed companies more generally and also advises insolvency practitioners. Charlotte works closely with the firm’s industry groups and has particular expertise in corporate governance issues, investment bank special administrations and the real estate, shipping and energy and natural resources sectors.

    Richard Moyes

    Richard Moyes is an expert and international policy strategist on the impact of weapons and violence. He is Managing Director at Article 36, a UK based NGO that challenges the acceptability of certain weapons.  Article 36 had a leading role in the development of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and is a member of the International Steering Group of ICAN, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.  Article 36 has also developed leading policy approaches to ‘autonomous’ weapons and on the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons in populated areas.

    Before establishing Article 36, Richard was influential in the development of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.  He has a working background that encompasses the set-up and management of landmine clearance and explosive ordnance disposal operations, analysis of civil society coalitions, development of security management tools for humanitarian agencies, and research on risk taking and economics in post-conflict communities.

    He has degrees in history and in social anthropology from Cambridge University and is an honorary fellow at the University of Exeter.

    Donald Steel

    Donald Steel is an international responder and trainer in crisis communications.  He works with individual, corporate and government and NGO clients in London, Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East and Asia Pacific/Australasia. These include some of the world’s leading airlines, medical facilities, broadcasters, universities, hotels, UN agencies, high profile individuals and government departments. He is in demand as an international speaker on social media and public behaviour in crisis.   He is Associate Director, Crisis Communications, at Kenyon International Emergency Services, the world’s leading commercial disaster response company.  He was formerly the chief media spokesman of the BBC.

    Ewan Willars

    After a number of years working for UK Finance leading retail banking policy issues, Ewan has spent the last two years researching impact of new technology and approaches towards establishing digital identity. This has included working on developing Government standards for digital identity in the financial services sector, as well as working with IAG, IATA and US Customs and Border Control on the introduction of biometric identification technologies. Before working in the banking sector Ewan worked as director of policy at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, a global membership body for accountants, leading the organisation’s influencing and research activities, including the influential Accountancy Futures publications. He has also served as head of policy for the Royal Institute of British Architects, helping to run the Building Futures think tank, and worked for a number of other bodies in the construction sector, holding policy positions in both London and Brussels.

    Jenny Willott

    Jenny Willott is Director of Enterprise and Innovation at St Mary’s University, and a board member of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. She also chairs the CAA’s Consumer Panel.

    Jenny was Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central for 10 years, and served both as Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and as Minister for Women and Equalities at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Prior to entering Parliament she worked in the voluntary sector, including as Chief Executive of Victim Support South Wales and Head of Advocacy for UNICEF UK.

    Contact us

    innovation@caa.co.uk