CAA: The third runway, from debate to doing

The ‘third runway’ has prompted a high profile and emotional debate, heated exchanges and even principled resignations.  I am sure that you have seen coverage in print or online.  But a key role in managing some of the next steps on the project – particularly on the financing side – resides with the UK’s independent aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Let me frame this within three of the foremost questions dominating this lengthy debate:

  • How will Heathrow Airport manage the legitimate concerns of local communities?
  • Can the runway be funded without increasing charges to airlines significantly?
  • Will consumers now secure greater choice and quality of service, and continued value for money in air fares?

AirbusA340-HI

Although Heathrow will ultimately be responsible for addressing these issues through the delivery of the project, the CAA is a key player in the process – but how does that work? A letter from the regulator to John Holland-Kaye, the airport’s Chief Executive, was sent on the 25th October, setting out clear expectations for the efficient delivery of this new infrastructure. But the CAA’s role started much earlier than that, having consistently  made the case for additional aviation capacity to prevent consumers from suffering less choice, higher fares and more disruption

The regulator has also told the airport to set out clear plans for engaging with local communities and addressing their legitimate concerns around issues such as compensation, operational procedures and participation in the airspace change process.

As well as setting the maximum amount the airport can charge airlines and establishing minimum service standards, the CAA also has other roles to play. These include implementing Government policy on airspace changes to ensure the best balance is reached between safety, efficiency and community impact; and that the design and operation of the new runway meets the required safety standards.


There is now opportunity to work for an organisation that is playing a key role in this exciting project.

The Civil Aviation Authority is hiring for its 2017 Internship Programme – go to InternAvenue.com to apply.


More information on the CAA’s role in regulating new aviation capacity is available from the CAA website.

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