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Tuesday 16 December, 2003

Civil Aviation Auth.

CAA Welcomes White Paper

Civil Aviation Authority
16 December 2003


News Release

16 December 2003



CAA WELCOMES GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER



The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) welcomes the Government's White Paper and the
greater clarity it has brought to discussions about runway capacity in the UK,
particularly in South East England.



It will now be for airport operators to work up detailed plans for enhanced
capacity.  The regulatory context for these plans will be the policies - safety,
airspace and economic - defined by the CAA.



The CAA commented on several specific elements of the White Paper:



1)  Safety: The CAA, together with Government and the aviation industry, is
committed to maintaining the present high safety  standards which we have in the
UK. The CAA's Safety Regulation Group is already working with the industry on a
Safety Intervention Programme which identifies significant safety risks, and
supports safety improvement strategies to reduce those risks.



The CAA is committed to working closely with the European Aviation Safety Agency
(EASA) to deliver high safety standards. The CAA will also seek to ensure that
the proper level of safety regulation is delivered as cost-effectively as
possible, and will support the Government in seeking to ensure that the wider
extension of liberalisation does not result in lower safety standards or less
effective safety oversight.



2)  Best use of national capacity:  The CAA welcomes the emphasis in the White
Paper on making the best possible use of existing airport capacity where
possible and on the contribution that development of regional airports can make
to UK aviation.



3)  Environment:  The CAA welcomes the commitment to aviation, over time,
covering its environmental and social costs.  The proposals are an important
step towards development of future environmental policy for aviation.  In
particular, the proposals for further consultation on night restrictions, and on
CO2 emissions trading are significant policy areas for the future.  Moreover,
the CAA notes with interest the concept of designating green belts around
substantial new airport developments to safeguard the countryside.


4)  Economic Regulation:  The CAA continues to be responsible for economic
regulation of BAA's London airports and Manchester airport, in accordance with
its statutory duties. The CAA published in February 2003 the results of its
Quinquennial Review of BAA's London airports up to March 2008.  Amongst the
conclusions reached by the CAA was that prices at London airports should be set
to reflect the market, costs and assets of each airport individually.  This is
known as 'stand-alone regulation'.  The CAA has indicated that it would be
prepared to depart from stand-alone regulation only if there was 'compelling
evidence to demonstrate that users in aggregate were genuinely better off as a
result, and that the impact was not unduly distortionary or discriminatory as
regards other airports in the South East'.



5)  Airspace:  The CAA will work with BAA, National Air Traffic Services (NATS)
and the Government in the development of proposals for greater utilisation of
existing runways at Heathrow for public consultation, taking into account the
safety, environmental and airspace issues. The CAA will also bring forward
programmes to improve UK airspace capacity which, in accordance with its
statutory obligations, will ensure safe and efficient use of airspace taking
account of environmental factors.


CAA Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty, said: 'The CAA will be giving further
consideration to what is a very comprehensive document over the coming weeks.
But it is already clear that there are many features to be welcomed; and further
work for us at the CAA to do.  In relation to the new runway at Stansted, which
is clearly one of the key proposals in the White Paper, it is for BAA to bring
forward plans for the development of new capacity there in a way which meets
market needs, and to provide the necessary funding, within the regulatory
framework set by the CAA'.

Notes to Editors



1) The role of the CAA's Safety Regulation Group (SRG) is to ensure that high
safety standards for United Kingdom civil aviation are set and achieved in a
co-operative and cost-effective manner.



2) The CAA has specific responsibilities in environmental matters.  These match
the Government's aim of sustainable development.  The CAA has significant roles
in assisting the development of Government policy, and developing and
implementing international standards.



3) Charges at designated airports (currently Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick and
Manchester) are set by the CAA as the independent economic regulator.  The CAA's
decisions are made under its Airports Act duties, which require the CAA:



(a)   to further the reasonable interests of users of airports within the United
Kingdom;

(b)   to promote the efficient, economic and profitable operation of such
airports;

(c)   to encourage investment in new facilities at airports in time to satisfy
anticipated demands by the users of such airports; and

(d)   to impose the minimum restrictions that are consistent with the
performance by the CAA of its functions under those sections.



In February 2003, following a comprehensive review, the CAA set new price caps
for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted for each of the five years from 1 April 2003
to 31 March 2008. Broadly these caps are RPI + 6.5 at Heathrow, RPI + 0 at
Gatwick and RPI + 0 at Stansted. The caps were set to reflect the market, costs
and assets of each of the individual airports, so ending the arrangement whereby
investments at one airport could be remunerated through higher charges at
another.



4)  Ensuring that the UK's airspace and its supporting infrastructure are
utilised safely and efficiently to meet the needs of all its users and society
is the primary role of the CAA's Directorate of Airspace Policy.





For further information contact the CAA Press Office on 0207 453 6030.


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