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Civil Aviation Act 2012-13

Royal Assent

(This Bill is from a previous session)

Summary

  • Bill status:

    Bill is now an Act

  • Type of Bill:

    Government Bill

Sponsors:

Last event

  • Royal Assent Royal Assent

    19 Dec 2012

    The Bill gained Royal Assent, becoming the Civil Aviation Act 2012.

Summary

The Bill was announced in the Queen's Speech on 25 May 2010, and a draft Bill and policy paper, entitled 'An effective regulatory framework for UK aviation', were published on 23 November 2011.

The Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 19 January 2012, and will implement the recommendations of three consultations:

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) currently regulates Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, using measures designed to replicate a competitive market in the absense of effective competition. The Bill will update the framework of this regulation, which was established in the 1980s.

The Bill will allow for:

  • the CAA to direct its regulation towards the needs of passengers by removing bureaucracy and political involvement
  • more targeted investment in facility improvements that will enhance the passenger experience
  • the establishment of a new licensing regime for airports with substantial market power - expected to be Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. The CAA will be allowed to impose civil sanctions, including financial penalties, to airports that breach the conditions of their licence
  • supplementary financing duty and minimum credit worthiness requirements, designed to ensure the financial resilience of UK airports
  • the CAA to use competition law in response to anti-competitive behaviour, in order to minimise the use of its regulatory tools. The CAA will be granted concurrent powers with the Office of Fair Trading, and will be able to refer cases to the Competition Commission where appropriate
  • a new appeals mechanism, allowing complaints against the CAA to be referred not only to a judicial review, but to a specialist independent body

Both the Conservative and Lib Dem election manifestos made commitments to overturn the previous government's plan for a third runway at Heathrow, which it has now done. Investment in other airports and a new focus on passenger satisfaction are planned to compensate for the removal of this increase in capacity.

The Bill was initially expected to extend the remit of Passenger Focus, but in July 2010 the secretary of state announced that that would not be the case.

Labour is likely to support the Bill, as it will implement many of the recommendations of its 2009 consultation 'Reforming the framework for the economic regulation of airports'.

BAA, which owns and operates Heathrow and Stansted airports and which sold Gatwick in 2009, has welcomed the plans to reform airport regulation, and encouraged the government to move swiftly to replace outdated regulations.

The Civil Aviation Bill was the subject of a carry-over motion on 30 January 2012, which was agreed without division.