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We Asked, You Said, We Did

Here are some of the issues we have consulted on and their outcomes. See all outcomes

We Asked

It is vital that CAP 403 Flying Displays and Special Events: Safety and Administrative Requirements and Guidance remains up-to-date and relevant, and that the CAA’s guidance material in these areas remains proportionate, clear and unambiguous.

We asked for feedback from the regulated community on proposed amendments to CAP 403 ahead of the 2020 display season. 

We compiled a draft of CAP 403 Edition 17 and consulted on it over four working weeks from 4 to 29 November 2019. 

You Said

We received a total of 200 unique comments to the draft CAP 403 from 30 respondents. All respondents were from the Flying Display community including Flying Display Directors, Event Organisers and Display Pilots. Four responses were formal submissions from representative bodies or associations. 

Of all the comments, 187 clearly conveyed some sort of change. Of these:

  • just over 40% were textual in nature, suggesting revised wording or highlighting minor drafting points. Many of these were comments were duplicated between respondents; and  
  • the other nearly 60% were more substantive, calling for some sort of change of the underlying policy. 

We Did

We accepted 95 of the all the comments suggesting some sort of change (51%). 

Of the 74 textual comments received, we accepted 35%. Most of these comprised rewording content for clarification, and we have tried to take a balanced view on what would be helpful. Several respondents requested changes to text that the majority of readers indicated as satisfactory. Others called for revision to text that we had carefully drafted in cooperation with other organisations such as the Military Aviation Authority. Some comments suggested clarifying definitions, and where possible we tried to accept these, however some suggestions would have meant revising CAA standard definitions which involves further work and may be considered in due course. 

Of the 113 substantive comments, we implemented 61%. Of these, 42 comments directly resulted in changes to the text, and another 40 were considered to be similar to changes already made. A significant proportion of these groups concerned our revisions in this Edition to Chapter 16 regarding the use of pyrotechnics.  Therefore, we decided to undertake a major redraft as a result, and we hope the result will be more workable to the community. Another 8 substantive comments received were noted for consideration in either another Edition of this CAP or another document such as CAP 1724 Display Standards. 

Regarding the comments we elected not to implement, many asked that we expand on material that we thought was covered adequately either in this document or elsewhere; or that we introduce content that we thought was not necessary. We also received some comments suggesting reinstating content that was actively removed from earlier Editions. 

Finally, some suggested changes would require substantial policy review including in some cases amendment to the Air Navigation Order (ANO), both of which are beyond the scope of this consultation.  However, we welcome further inputs to policy and the ANO, as and when these are released for consultation. 

We have produced a final version of CAP 403 Edition 17 was published on 5 February 2020. 

We Asked

The purpose of this consultation was for you to give the CAA views on the process we should use for making decisions on PPR proposals – PPR meaning air traffic control operational procedure changes that give rise to a planned and permanent redistribution of air traffic.

The process begins once an air navigation service provider has identified (through an internal process) that an air traffic control operational procedure change might qualify as a PPR. After explaining to the CAA why it is needed, the air navigation service provider must then assess and compare the impacts of the options available to meet that need, consult those potentially affected about the option(s) chosen, and take feedback into account in any final proposal.

You Said

We had 103 formal responses to the consultation, which we have published where we have permission to do so. Of those 103, 55 were from residents affected by aviation, 19 from local government, 12 from the commercial aviation industry, eight from the General Aviation community, and nine from representative or national organisations or institutes. Eighty respondents were resident or based in the south-east, the others being from across the UK.

We received many responses challenging our proposed process and asking for modifications. There were a few common themes, but otherwise the modifications being asked for varied considerably and related to a specific element of the process rather than the whole. Some requests were diametrically opposed, for example some asking for a shorter process and some for a longer process. 

Although our consultation document made clear what was in or out of scope of the consultation, a number of the responses concerned matters out of scope that are not in the CAA’s gift to change. We were therefore obliged to disregard those elements for the purposes of this consultation. 

Airports generally thought that before an air navigation service provider initiated the PPR process, collaboration, consultation and/or agreement between the airport and air navigation service provider was essential. Some airports argued that they should be able to initiate a PPR. Other responses suggested that other organisations, such as local authorities or community organisations, could be the promoter of a PPR.

On the whole, industry respondents seemed to accept the need for the new regulatory process, but were keen to minimise the burden. Some thought that the process went too far and wanted reassurance that for minor changes the process would be appropriately scaled, and that safety-critical changes would not be held up. Some respondents wanted the process to be streamlined where proposals were improving noise impacts, while others called for a process that was at least as rigorous as for a proposed change in airspace design. 

The 'trigger' process for an air navigation service provider to identify a 'relevant PPR' received significant support from respondents, but some raised concerns with the way this would work.

Some respondents expressed concern that the CAA does not have the power to require an air navigation service provider to go through the PPR process retrospectively should it fail to identify that a change in operational procedures meets the criteria for a relevant PPR.

There was general consensus that when making a change in air traffic control operational procedures, the air navigation service provider should generally have multiple options, although it could depend on the circumstances and on the type of PPR.

Regarding our proposals for a post-implementation review – the stage where we verify whether the anticipated impacts and benefits in the original proposal and CAA decision have been delivered – there were some concerns about the air navigation service provider producing an objective assessment of the impacts.

There was support for a shortened process for temporary changes, providing that the change was genuinely temporary. Some respondents expressed concern that the shortened process was still over-long and asked what would happen should operational changes such as routine maintenance of ground navigation aids need to be achieved sooner than the process would allow.

There were concerns from industry that they and/or the CAA would not be ready to implement the new decision-making process by 1 November 2019. Some questioned the impact on CAA resources.

We identified and categorised nearly 100 specific recommendations or questions about how we could improve the process.

We Did

We have published a consultation response document Airspace change: outcome of the consultation on a decision-making process for PPR (planned and permanent redistribution of air traffic) proposals

Below we summarise how we have taken into account your responses. We are now proceeding to publication of the process in a new third edition of CAP 1616 in January 2020. 

We are incorporating the PPR decision-making process into CAP 1616. For clarity we are dividing CAP 1616 into three parts:

Part 1: the airspace change process (permanent changes to the notified airspace design), including: 

  • Part 1a: temporary changes to the notified airpace design
  • Part 1b: airspace trials

Part 2: PPR, including:

  • Part 2a: temporary PPR changes

Part 3: Airspace information: transparency about airspace use and aircraft movements.

Implementation arrangements
Deferred by the Secretary of State from 1 November 2019 until 1 February 2020. Because a supplementary instruction changing air traffic control operational procedures must normally be notified to the CAA’s Safety and Airspace Regulation Group on 30 days’ notice, the CAA will begin accepting PPR proposals once the new process is published in January 2020.

Overall PPR decision-making process
We are maintaining, for the most part, the process proposed in our consultation with some minor modifications. The consultation responses, in our view, did not identify alternative proposals that would better balance the needs and expectations of the policy requirements and/or different stakeholders.

CAA interpretation of criteria for a Type 1 'relevant PPR'
Revised chart illustrating what is and is not in scope. Clarification for airports with two parallel runways.

Who needs to apply for PPR approval
Only an air navigation service provider can seek approval for a PPR, but it will be required to confirm on the Statement of Need whether it has the full agreement of any relevant airport operator.

Stakeholder collaboration
Recognition that some PPR change activities may be led by airports or other stakeholders, and that we welcome collaboration between the air navigation service provider and other stakeholders. For example, airports could carry out consultations, and communities could help promote environmentally beneficial changes.

Statement of Need
A Statement of Need is submitted by an air navigation service provider, if necessary on behalf of an airport operator, where:

  • it identifies a proposed operational procedure change as a relevant PPR
  • it identifies a proposed operational procedure change as not being a relevant PPR, but wants the CAA’s confirmation of that assessment, for example to provide transparency for local residents
  • it is unsure whether a proposed operational procedure change is a relevant PPR, and is asking the CAA to make a determination under paragraph 15 of the annex to the Air Navigation Directions.

Post-implementation review
Clarification that when the CAA reviews the air navigation service provider’s post-implementation report, we will state whether we consider the post-implementation report closed, open, or partially satisfied: 

  • we will consider it closed if the implemented change in operational procedures satisfactorily achieves – within acceptable tolerance limits – the objective of the proposal as it was approved by the CAA
  • we will consider it open if we are not satisfied with the report (if, for example, we believe the analysis or conclusions to be inconclusive) and will require the air navigation service provider to rectify the shortcomings in the report
  • we will consider it partially satisfied if the change in operational procedures requires modifications to better achieve the objective of the proposal as it was approved by the CAA.

In the third case, the CAA will require that those modifications are then further monitored for effectiveness. Once the modifications have been implemented and operated for a period (approximately six months), there are three further possible outcomes (mirroring the process in Stage 7 of Part 1 of CAP 1616):

  • noting that the modifications did not better achieve the objective of the proposal as it was approved by the CAA, we may conclude that the original change in procedures was satisfactory and is confirmed; or 
  • noting that the modifications did not better achieve the objective of the proposal as it was approved by the CAA, we may conclude that the original change in procedures was not satisfactory and the original change is not confirmed (in which case, in order to pursue its change in procedures, the air navigation service provider will need to commence a fresh PPR proposal from Stage 1); or
  • we may conclude that the modifications do better – within acceptable tolerance limits – achieve the objective of the proposal as it was approved by the CAA and so the modified procedures will be confirmed.

Temporary changes
A shorter and more meaningful process than we originally proposed, in recognition that it would be disproportionate to mirror the existing CAP 1616 process for a temporary change to airspace design. There were concerns that the decision-making process might take longer than the temporary change in operational procedures itself. In recognition of concerns from communities at the six month maximum duration of a temporary PPR, we are requiring the air navigation service provider to provide a short report on the change after three months before we consider extending approval for a further three months.


Responses to the consultation

Responses, where we have consent to publish, can be viewed by following the the link below under 'Published Responses' (for online responses) and the link at the foot of this page under 'Related Documents' (for offline responses).  



We Asked

For comments from Industry regarding the creation of CAP 1649, which will be used to aid the implementation of EU 2017/373 Annex XIII (Part-Pers) for full and limited certificated ANSPs.  The consultation ran from 4th April 2019 to 31st May 2019.

You Said

The CAA received 68 comments from 18 stakeholders. We accepted 14 of these comments (20.5%), partially accepted a further 2 comments (3%) and have not accepted 8 comments (11.5%).  The overwhelming majority of responses (65%) were generic comments and questions with the responders asking for clarity on specific areas.   This document provides a response to the comments provided. You can find our consultation response document here.

We Did

The full revised CAP1649 document takes account of comments received and will be published on our website as soon as possible.