Press release

General Aviation Red Tape Challenge

New opportunity for pilots, mechanics, airfields, training organisations and small aviation firms to cut red tape.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Minister without Portfolio, Grant Shapps is today calling on the General Aviation sector to tell the government how it can make their lives easier by cleaning up regulations and removing red tape.

The government launched its Aviation Red Tape Challenge last year, looking at regulations that affect the sector – more than half of which will now be scrapped or improved.

It now wants to go further and look in more detail at the problems that affect SMEs and people in the general aviation sector. As of today, anyone with an interest in general aviation has the opportunity to share their views on the regulatory issues that affect them and use their experience to tell the government how it can make things better.

Minister without portfolio Grant Shapps said:

A flourishing aviation sector is vital to Britain winning the global race and that includes general aviation as well as the large commercial operators. That’s why today we are launching the General Aviation Red Tape Challenge specifically aimed at the smaller operators and businesses for whom regulatory issues can be frustrating and restrictive.

We want to help generate jobs and prosperity so I hope everyone in the sector from pilots to mechanics to training organisations to airfield owners take part in this challenge and let us know how we can help you to succeed.

The Red Tape Challenge is a cross-government programme to tackle unnecessary, over- complicated regulation. The default is that regulation should go unless it can be well defended (such as on safety grounds). Even where it stays we aim to reduce burdens in its implementation.

Charles Henry, Chairman of the General Aviation Awareness Council, said:

I fully endorse this initiative and urge all involved in the Industry to identify those rules and regulations that do nothing to enhance the safety of general aviation but add unnecessary cost. All pilots and engineers should respond to this unique opportunity and help UK GA regain its reputation for having the finest pilot training and highly skilled engineers in the world.

Anyone who wants to participate should log onto to the Red Tape Challenge site or send a private contribution to

Notes to editors

  1. The government’s Aviation Policy Framework notes the economic value of the General Aviation Sector as £1.4 billion per annum.
  2. The sector delivers vital services, including search and rescue, mail delivery, life-saving (organ) transport, law enforcement, aerial survey and environmental protection flights, as well as underpinning the training of future pilots, ground-based aircraft engineers and technicians. The sector also covers a wide range of activities, from corporate business jets and commercial helicopter operations through to recreational flying in small private aircraft, including gliders. A Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)-initiated and chaired strategic review of the sector has acknowledged its growing economic importance, particularly for the British and European manufacturing industry.
  3. The CAA’s Strategic Review of General Aviation cites an estimate 11,600 people employed in the general aviation sector.
  4. The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister in April 2011. It gives business and the public the chance to have their say, by theme, on the regulations that affect their everyday lives.
  5. Every few weeks regulations are published relating to a specific sector – as well as general regulations that relate to all sectors, such as those on equality or health and safety. Results of Red Tape Challenge so far include:
    • a radical package of employment tribunal reforms, expected to deliver £40 million of savings per year to employers. The qualifying period for unfair dismissal has increased from 1 to 2 years.
    • since October 2012, deregulation of many live music performances and scrapped regulations dictating location and design of ‘No Smoking’ signs.
    • planned reforms to environmental regulation to save business at least £1 billion over 5 years, while keeping important protections. This includes reducing burdensome bureaucracy with the 23.5 million paper Waste Transfer Notes currently produced in the UK each year.
  6. Around 6,500 regulations will undergo Red Tape Challenge scrutiny. At least 3,000 of these will be scrapped or reduced, and 1,500 of these will have a financial benefit to business.
  7. The Aviation theme of the Red Tape Challenge was open for public comment between June-July 2012, with 83 live regulations in scope of the theme. 58% of these will be scrapped or improved and reforms include a major review of the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing scheme to ensure it provides more effective protection in the holiday market, and further work to examine the deregulatory benefits of reforming the Air Navigation Order.
  8. Full results of the Aviation Red Tape Challenge will be published on the Department for Transport and Red Tape Challenge websites soon.
  9. The general Aviation theme will be more open and rather than be presented with a list of specific regulations, participants will be able to comment on issues faced in the following themes:
    • general aviation pilots
    • general aviation airfields
    • maintenance
    • Civil Aviation Authority
    • airspace management
    • training and instruction
    • historic aircraft
    • innovation
Published 11 April 2013