I, together with my right honourable friend the member for Welwyn Hatfield, the Minister without Portfolio, wish to inform the House of the publication of the government’s response to the recommendations made by the General Aviation (GA) Challenge Panel in its final report to ministers which was published in May (2014).
We recognise the singular role that the GA sector plays as a driver within the UK’s aviation industry. Many of our pilots and engineers are trained within the GA community, and the vast majority of the aircraft in this country operate within it. Its value has been estimated at some £1.4 billion to our economy, and it possesses the potential to support even more skilled jobs than at present and make an even greater contribution to economic growth.
The government welcomes the rigour with which the Challenge Panel have worked to produce their report and recommendations. The government has considered the recommendations, has responded to these and made a number of announcements about the work being taken forward within its response.
- establishing a new cross-department Star Chamber chaired by the Minister without Portfolio and including senior representation from all government departments with influence on GA matters
- commissioning economic research to inform views of where government policy could go further to support a vibrant GA sector, including a commitment to look again at planning issues relating to airfields in light of the planned economic research
- committing to challenge and support the delivery of the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) General Aviation Road Map, including consideration of amendments to the EASA Basic Regulation where appropriate
- considering how to make the legislative requirements for GA users crossing the border easier to understand, and undertaking a consultation on pre-notification periods for GA flights to reduce the timescale for advance notification at designated customs ports
- undertaking a joint review of the Air Navigation Order with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to assess where this has disproportionate impacts on the GA sector
Much of this work will contribute to a government strategy for GA which we plan to publish in the spring of 2015.
General Aviation can and should contribute to the UK’s economic success, whilst providing a safe environment for participants and the public. The government’s aim is therefore to make the UK the best country in the world for General Aviation.
I will place copies of the documents in the libraries of both Houses.