The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requires the UK to put in place a State Safety Programme (SSP) to regulate and oversee the UK aviation system. For the UK, this covers the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK ‘Main’), the UK’s Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies. This diagram shows a simplified relationship between the UK as a Contracting State and ICAO.
The UK as a member of the European Union is obliged to follow European regulations relating to aviation. We consequently participate in the European safety system centred on the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). We play a part in the development of EASA regulations through the European Regulatory process. We also play a key role in the determining of EASA’s rules through our membership of the EASA Management Board, the EASA Committee, and our overall relationship with EASA. We support EASA through the provision of significant resources for rulemaking, providing secondees into the organisation, undertaking outsourced activities, partnering in training and capacity building, and we are subject to their oversight.
The Air Navigation Order (ANO) is the statutory instrument made under the Civil Aviation Act (1982) that regulates aviation in UK ‘Main’ that is overseen by the CAA. The ANO regulates areas which are not covered by EU Regulations. It also provides the power for CAA to enforce EU regulations as well as establishing offence and penalties. For some activities, the CAA delegates responsibility to other bodies where appropriate.
Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) between the DfT and each of the Crown Dependencies assist the UK Government in meeting its obligations under the Chicago Convention. Each MoU covers the obligations of both parties including the obligation of each Crown Dependency to arrange for regular external audits of its safety oversight arrangements.
Air Safety Support International (ASSI) is responsible, where appropriate, for providing assistance, training and advice to the Overseas Territories’ aviation authorities.
Where there is no civil aviation regulator within the Overseas Territory, or it does not have the resources or the expertise to undertake the task itself, ASSI can be designated by the Governor to perform the civil aviation regulatory tasks. Where it is not the designated regulator, ASSI provides the role of policy maker, advisor and assessor of the effectiveness of regulatory oversight. More detail can be found in the ASSI State Safety Programme.
While Gibraltar is an Overseas Territory, it is currently within the EU and is covered by the EASA regulatory framework. It also has its own Civil Aviation Act and associated subordinate regulations. As Gibraltar International Airport is based on a military airfield, most aviation safety issues are regulated by the Military Aviation Authority (MAA). Issues affecting aviation safety in the civil section of the Airport and elsewhere in Gibraltar are overseen by the Gibraltar Director of Civil Aviation with technical support from the UK CAA. The CAA are also responsible for the safety of UK airlines using the airport.
Military aviation taking place in the UK can impact civil aviation so the MAA are an SSP stakeholder. The MAA regulates and oversees military operations. The accountabilities and responsibilities of the MAA are defined in MAA01 - Military Aviation Authority Regulatory Policy.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigates civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents within the UK, its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. These are conducted under the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 2018 (and the equivalent regulations in the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies), and Regulation (EU) 996/2010, which comply with the international standards and recommended practices of ICAO Annex 13. The AAIB is also the UK safety investigation authority for overseas accidents and serious incidents where there is a UK interest. In support of this work, the AAIB has several Memorandums of Understanding. These are listed on the AAIB website.
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