18 APRIL 2022
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The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced the first appointment to a new independent aviation panel created to strengthen transparency around decision-making and regulatory processes at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Nick Denton, current Traffic Commissioner for West Midlands, has been selected by ministers following a diligent recruitment process run by DfT.
He brings expertise in investigative processes and procedures following many years working as a Traffic Commissioner and, before that, in the civil service.
The panel is fully independent and impartial of the CAA and is available to review eligible decisions made by the CAA, which is responsible for the regulation of aviation safety, use of airspace and the licensing and financial fitness of airlines, among other things.
Eligible decisions cover personnel licensing and certification decisions, such as those following an airspace infringement or the decision to suspend a licence or endorsement to an instructor or examiner.
The panel will consider whether the CAA correctly followed its processes and procedures in arriving at a decision. It will have the power to remit the case back to the CAA where it investigates and considers the CAA has not done this.
In the exceptional event that the CAA chooses not to reconsider a case in light of a recommendation to do so from the panel, it will need to explain its rationale to the complainant, the panel and the Minister for Aviation.
An important aspect of the UK and international aviation safety system is that the regulatory authority has the responsibility for safety-related decisions. At the end of the day the CAA will remain the ultimate decision-maker.
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