The UK government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are preparing to strip away unnecessary bureaucracy for the country's general aviation sector. The decision is in response to feedback from a government-backed study into this huge aviation sector, which spans ad hoc charter companies and corporate flight departments to flight training schools and helicopter operators.

The investigation – dubbed the Red Tape Challenge – found that the current regulatory regime is often impractical and too prescriptive for the wide-ranging GA community.

“GA is an extremely important sector of UK civil aviation and it is right that we do everything possible to enable it to thrive,” says UK Minister for Aviation Robert Goodwill. “That includes making sure that, where appropriate, we ease the burden on what are often smaller operators and businesses who find navigating a complex regulatory framework particularly challenging.”

The CAA will set up a new GA unit by April 2014 dedicated, it says, “to more proportionate, effective regulation that supports and encourages a dynamic GA sector for the UK".

An independent “challenge panel” will also be created, made up of GA industry experts and professionals.“It will seek to identify opportunities to deregulate, promote growth of the sector and to identify projects which would support investment, jobs and the growth of the GA sector,” the CAA says. The panel will report directly to the government and will run until next April.

“We are absolutely committed to improving the way we regulate GA,” says CAA chair Dame Deirdre Hutton. “The new, dedicated GA Unit is a formal recognition that GA needs a different and less onerous regulatory regime to commercial air transport. It will ensure we understand better the impact of our regulation on the sector, that we are as transparent and efficient as possible in how we go about it, and that we identify opportunities to reduce burdens and costs wherever we can.”

The authority is also seeking to work with European bodies such as the EASA to look for ways in which unnecessary regulatory burdens on the GA sector can be reduced.