2 JUNE 2014
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Readers may recall that a six-person independent volunteer unpaid panel was instigated by Grant Shapps, a private pilot and Minister without Portfolio last November to strip away unnecessary bureaucracy from General Aviation (GA), essentially flying clubs and private pilots. It was given six months to report to Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill.
The investigation showed that excess regulation and resulting cost is constraining GA growth. The number of annual licence applications for private pilots has fallen dramatically from 4,500 in 1991 to around 2,500 in 2012. Yet there is growth in the less regulated microlight sector.
They called for more proportionate evidence-based regulation by CAA and noted that the CAA charges are seen by many as disproportionate. It suggested reductions in charges and a revision of the 6% return required by the CAA.
Recommendations are made on securing the network of GA airfields, airspace, taxation, VAT on flight training, border controls for GA and Visas for students undergoing commercial flight training. UK flying training schools are penalised financially compared to continental Europe and elsewhere. There is a burgeoning opportunity UK-wide.
The panel said that the Government should recognise that a vibrant General Aviation sector is crucial to securing the success and future growth and recruitment to commercial air transport and aerospace in the UK. www.gov.uk/government/publications/general-aviation-challenge-panel-final-report
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