Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Independent review of Civil Aviation Authority sets out how “highly effective regulator” can continue to improve [July 2023]

The press release issued by the Department for Transport on 17 July 2023.

CAA still held in the highest regard but needs to improve communication on decision-making process and foster tighter working relationships within the sector.

  • independent review into UK aviation regulatory body reaffirms its status as a “highly effective” industry regulator
  • report sets out a series of recommendations to maintain its high level of service
  • four themes of accountability, governance, efficiency and efficacy considered as part of a government review of public bodies

The UK’s aviation regulator has today (17 July 2023) been reconfirmed as a highly effective regulator following an independent review that considered its performance, accountability and leadership.

As part of a government-wide review into public bodies, an independent review led by Jeremy Newman, Chair of the Workforce Development Trust, looked at how the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) operates across 4 key areas. As part of its findings, it noted an overwhelming response across the sector that the regulator’s impact was positively highlighted, both in the UK and internationally, as it continued to be held by its international contemporaries in the highest regard.

The review considered how accountable the CAA is to the industry it regulates, its governance and relationship with the Department for Transport (DfT), the efficiency of its services and how effective it is in regulating airlines and airports.

Aviation Minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton said:

The CAA is an effective and well-respected regulator for the UK aviation industry, balancing the interests of industry and consumers.

I am pleased that this independent review recognises the CAA’s status as a world-leading regulator and it is only right that it strives to be even better to deliver for all its users in the future.

Today’s review proposes greater clarity to the CAA’s roles, responsibilities, strategic priorities and relationship with DfT. These changes will enable the CAA to better meet the challenges of the future, including helping the aviation and aerospace sector to introduce new technology safely and quickly.

When governing an ever-changing industry as important as the UK aviation sector, the CAA must be transparent and accountable to those it governs. That’s why today’s review highlights a renewed need to communicate its decision-making process and foster a tighter working relationship with industry partners and the general aviation community.

Jeremy Newman, current Chair of The Workforce Development Trust, said:

It was a privilege to lead the review of the CAA. It is clear that the CAA is held in high regard by other aviation regulators and the wider aviation sector.  The aviation and aerospace sector has new opportunities from technology as well as environmental challenges and it will benefit from having a regulator that is able to adapt to these opportunities and challenges.

I am confident that the CAA is well-placed to continue its world-leading role and I hope that implementing the recommendations in this review will make a positive contribution to ensuring this is the case.

Sir Stephen Hillier, Chair of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:

The review has been a welcome opportunity to analyse the Civil Aviation Authority’s responsibilities and capabilities. I very much welcome the review’s confirmation that we are a highly capable and internationally well-regarded aviation safety regulator.

The review has helpfully also identified areas where we can improve.  We welcome those recommendations: we are a learning organisation and always looking continuously to improve.

We have already initiated improvements in some of these areas and I am confident that the implementation of all the recommendations will help ensure that we are an ever-more forward-looking, efficient, effective and well-governed organisation constantly looking after aviation consumers’ interests and constantly improving the service we provide to our regulated customers.

The review also sets out proposals for the CAA to find savings that can be reinvested into core services delivering the best possible value for money and services for those organisations that it regulates.

Finally, the review recognises the CAA’s important role in protecting the rights of the consumer and critical work as an industry regulator. It is important that passengers feel confident that their rights will be protected and that those who don’t deliver an acceptable standard of service can be held accountable. Today’s announcement makes clear that the CAA’s work must continue to protect the rights of passengers.

Last month the government announced its response to last year’s aviation consumer policy reform consultation, which included strengthening the CAA’s powers to further protect both consumers’ and airlines’ interests.