The first analysis of the UK general aviation market should go a long way to heal the rift between the Civil Aviation Authority and a general aviation community that have been at loggerheads for years. At the heart of the problem is GA's concern that its contribution to the UK's aviation sector and economy have been ignored by the CAA and government. These frustrations boiled over last year when the CAA introduced costly charges for small commercial operators, which industry claimed would drive many to extinction.

The CAA finally acknowledged that perhaps it did not have "a good enough feel for GA". Although it has not said it will scrap the charges, it launched the strategic review of GA to placate the industry and develop a template for the future of this broad sector.

The report's finding that GA contributes about £1.4 billion ($2.6 billion) to the UK economy was perhaps a factor in this new conciliatory approach. But GA is rightly fearful that with the CAA's relentless march on charges, there could be very little left of the industry by the time the recommendations are put in place. Although GA bodies have welcomed the report, they are proceeding with caution. This review, coupled with the fresh support of the CAA and the UK government, is a vital step towards resolving GA concerns, from airport and airspace access to crippling engineer and pilot shortages.

Source: Flight International