Review of CAA Policy on the Training, Qualification and Licensing of Flight Information Service Officers

Closed 7 Dec 2018

Opened 17 Sep 2018



The CAA is seeking the views of our stakeholders on a series of concept proposals for future CAA policy on the training, qualification and licensing of UK flight information service officers (FISOs).

This consultation closes at 23:59 on 7 December 2018


CAA policy relating to the training, qualification and licensing of FISOs has remained largely unchanged for almost forty years and differs markedly from international ‘good practice’. By contrast, the arrangements for air traffic controllers (ATCOs) have been subject to continued evolution; seeing them adopt new technologies and ways of working in parallel with advances in the wider aviation industry they serve.  Adoption of new technology is equally evident in general aviation (GA) and particularly recreational aviation – the primary user of air traffic services (ATS) provided by FISOs – where major advances have been made in aircraft design, systems and products for the use of GA pilots. 

In 2016, the CAA initiated a review of all aspects of the training, qualification and licensing of FISOs and their regulatory oversight by the CAA.  The review also considered the limitations placed on the privileges associated with a FISO licence in the UK; specifically, that FISOs are limited to the provision of FIS in Class G airspace alone and that the use of an ATS surveillance system to supplement the FIS is not permitted.

Having conducted the review, the CAA developed policy concepts which we believe could form the basis of the UK’s FISO licensing arrangements in the future.  The next stage is to gain the views of our stakeholders on these policy concepts through this consultation.

The consultation document, CAP 1669, argues the need for change, describes the review of FISO licensing arrangements undertaken by the CAA and proposes the future policy concepts for stakeholder review.

Why your views matter

What are we consulting on?

The CAA has launched a consultation on its concepts for future policy relating to the training, qualification and licensing of FISOs.  These are not yet firm policy proposals, rather a ‘green paper’ to stimulate engagement with and responses from our stakeholders.  These responses will be used to inform subsequent policy development work, which will be subject to a second consultation planned to commence in Q1 2020.

The concepts themselves are based upon international ‘good practise’ and are adapted from and aligned with those requirements placed upon ATCOs. Broadly speaking, the concepts relate to the:

  • format and structure of the FISO licence;
  • training of FISOs; and,
  • the privileges associated with a FISO licence.

We welcome views from all interested parties, particularly:

  • air navigation service providers;
  • air traffic services initial training organisations;
  • individuals holding a FISO licence issued by the UK CAA; and,
  • FIS industry representative organisations.

Why was the review needed?

The initial impetus for the CAA to undertake a formal review of its FISO licensing arrangements came from an analysis of CAA policy undertaken by the Association of UK FISOs in summer 2015.  The concepts proposed in this consultation address issues identified by the Association in their review. However, the need for the CAA’s review was broader than this, with a number of ‘drivers for change’ becoming evident:

  • Growth in demand for air travel places increasing pressure on our airspace which, in turn, is driving a need to undertake wide-ranging modernisation activity.  We need to ensure that FISOs, air navigation service providers and users of these services can operate within a modern air traffic management system and exploit the opportunities posed by modernisation;
  • A need to increase our level of compliance with ICAO requirements which will enable the UK to modernise and put its air traffic management arrangements on a more sustainable footing;
  • As the availability of new technology has improved and the associated costs reduced, demand for instrument approach procedures at aerodromes with non-instrument runways has increased.  We need to ensure that FISOs are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to facilitate the conduct of such approach procedures;
  • A growing shortage of ATCOs and an emerging risk of a shortage of FISOs;
  • Complexity in the systems, processes and procedures in use within the CAA for the licensing of FISOs; and,
  • Other international activity which will, to a greater and lesser extent, affect FISOs in the UK. Specifically:
    •  ICAO are in the final stages of developing a new Manual of AFIS which will see the withdrawal of the outdated Circular 211 and will include guidance on training and competency requirements for FISOs;
    • European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has acknowledged a need to standardise adequate competence and training requirements for FISOs and that rulemaking on FISO licensing is likely in the future and,
    • the International Flight Information Service Association has stated that one of its objectives is to gain recognition for FISOs within ICAO Annex 1 Personnel Licensing and has recently initiated a working group to facilitate this.

Consultation documents

Please read the following document which supports this consultation.
CAP1669 Review of CAA Policy on the Training, Qualification and Licensing of Flight Information Service Officers

Ways to respond

Respond online. The online survey includes an option to 'Save and come back later....' as you work through the questions.


  • General Aviation
  • Air Navigation Service Providers


  • FISO training, qualification and licensing