The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was one of the ‘arms lengths bodies’ to have its form, function and effectiveness independently reviewed. Monday 17 July marked the conclusion of the Newman Review with the publication of a series of findings and recommendations. ADS’ submission to that review can be read here.  

Among the most important conclusions was the reaffirmation of the CAA as ‘fit for purpose’, finding that fundamentally the regulator has a well-deserved reputation for delivering high-quality services.  

There were, of course, many areas identified where the CAA, could be improved. A prominent feature in the ADS submission to the review was about how the CAA engages with industry, and it was particularly welcome to see several clear recommendations on how the body could improve information sharing process with stakeholders.  

Following the review, we were delighted to welcome the CAA Chair, Sir Stephen Hillier, and Interim-Joint Chief Executive Paul Smith to a fireside chat with ADS Chief Executive Kevin Craven. A variety of stakeholders from across the aviation and aerospace sectors as well as ADS members for the first public heard the body respond to the review’s findings.  

The conversation was wide-ranging, with focus on the effectiveness (or otherwise) of the CAA’s website, the CAA’s role on the international stage, and how the CAA will ensure that it has both the sufficient capacity and capability to certify and regulate new aerospace technologies under development. 

These new technologies, including new propulsion techniques such as hydrogen, electric Vertical Take Off and Landing vehicles, drones, space launch, airspace advancements, among many others, will require a comprehensive partnership between industry and the regulator to secure the UK’s role as a leader in these areas. It was especially welcome to hear the CAA specifically address some of these challenges – even more so as this was on of the areas which was lacking in the final Review. 

As part of the improved stakeholder engagement from the CAA, ADS will be looking to host further events, both with CAA executives and working level technical experts. This will be a fundamental relationship going forward, following the CAA’s departure from the European aviation regulator.  

ADS members can read further analysis on the CAA Review’s findings here.