Aviation Red Tape Challenge results

This report contains the results of the aviation theme of the Red Tape Challenge.


Results of the aviation theme of the Red Tape Challenge

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


This document sets out the deregulatory recommendations following the aviation theme of the Red Tape Challenge, a cross-government initiative to reduce regulatory burdens.

Aviation Red Tape Challenge

Government is cutting through aviation red tape to benefit airports and operators.

As part of the aviation Red Tape Challenge – the government-wide process to remove unnecessary and burdensome regulations – the Department for Transport will revoke or improve well over half of all the regulations examined (58%). This will reduce the regulatory burden on airports, airlines and other operators.

The Department for Transport will:

  • Issue a call for evidence on ATOL funding arrangements and Package Travel Directive implementation, seeking a more efficient system that ensures effective protection for holidaymakers
  • Look to reform the Air Navigation Order, the principle piece of UK aviation regulation, to remove unnecessarily onerous requirements and save businesses time and money.
  • Review the costs of statutory requirements on airports to provide facilities for consultation, as part of a wider review of consultative committees later this year. This could allow airports greater flexibility in their community engagement

After a rigorous internal challenge process and significant input from industry, aviators and the general public, a total of 48 regulations out of 83 will be scrapped or improved. As part of wider work to reduce the regulatory burden on the sector, the Civil Aviation Authority is also launching a major efficiency drive to significantly review its costs and move services online, saving businesses and taxpayers time and money.

Much aviation regulation is internationally-derived and so cannot be unilaterally changed. But together with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the Department for Transport will further reduce the burden on industry as follows:

  • Thanks to the CAA’s IT upgrade programme, for the first time it will be possible to apply for licences and approvals via an online platform. This will be significantly faster and more convenient for applicants such as professional and private pilots, maintenance organisations and registered flight training organisations
  • The Future Airspace Strategy will be a more efficient way of utilising the UK’s airspace - it will enable flights to make more direct routes and will take account of modern aircrafts’ capabilities, this will save operators time and fuel and will mean a more efficient use of our resources, so bringing additional benefits to airlines, airports, and passengers
  • In Europe, the Department for Transport has consistently argued in favour of a bottom-up regulatory approach to general aviation, where basic general aviation should be subject to a minimum level of regulation essential for safety, and we will continue to push for this approach using the evidence received through the Red Tape Challenge

The Department for Transport is also working with the Cabinet Office on a further review focused on the regulatory burdens imposed on the general aviation sector. The general aviation Red Tape Challenge will launch tomorrow, 11 April, and look specifically at regulatory issues faced by smaller operators and businesses who can find navigating complex regulatory regimes particularly challenging. You can comment on the Red Tape Challenge website.


The Red Tape Challenge is systematically examining some 6,500 substantive regulations that we inherited with the aim of scrapping or significantly reducing as many of them as possible. 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. Results of the 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 one to two years

  • removing hundreds of thousands of low-risk businesses from unnecessary Health and Safety inspections from April 2013

  • since October 2012, deregulation of many live music performances and scrapped regulations dictating location and design of no smoking signs

A full list of the regulations to be scrapped and improved can be found in the Aviation Red Tape Challenge results report.

All Red Tape Challenge legal reforms are subject to the will of Parliament and appropriate consultation.

The Department for Transport examined a list of around 120 regulations and identified 83 live regulations as part of the aviation Red Tape Challenge theme. Of these live regulations, it is proposing to scrap, merge, simplify or amend 58% of them – well over half. A detailed breakdown is below:

Sub-category Total Keep Revoke Improve
Air Navigation and Traffic Control 19 7 3 9
Aircraft 15 4 6 5
Airports 22 7 12 3
Civil Aviation Authority 2 2 0 0
International 13 8 5 0
Passenger Rights 5 2 1 2
Pilots and Cabin Crew 4 2 2 0
Security 3 3 0 0
Total 83 35 29 19

Around 44% of aviation regulations are internationally or EU-derived.

Published 10 April 2013