View Full Version : What is going wrong with the UK CAA?

5th Apr 2018, 09:37
What is happening at the UK CAA? Is it staff shortages?

Several month delays to get any sort of application to be processed and even then bounced back several times incorrectly. No same day service available within 30 days? You call and you get staff who have no idea what they are talking about?

I remember even 5 years ago you could get a hold of well trained educated operators at the FCL dept who knew their stuff... now it is beyond a joke!

What has been the cause of the current spiral into the deck?

5th Apr 2018, 11:25
They're a monopoly with no accountability. So, they have no incentive to make an effort.

5th Apr 2018, 12:18
I suggest that you need to look at the report detailing the Strategic Review of the CAA carried out by Sir Joseph Pilling and published in 2008. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/aviation/domestic/pillingreview.PDF

Recommendations in this report included proposed changes to the Corporate Governance of the CAA and these are detailed in Chapter 4. Para 101 of this report states that the CAA is not broken and that its existing governance arrangements have been part of the organisation's success. Nevertheless changes are proposed to help future (unspecified) challenges the CAA faces in the future.

In particular Para 105 & 106 of the Pilling report relate to the appointment of a CEO who would sit between the Group Directors and the Chairman.

105. Appointing a Chief Executive would bring possible disadvantages. In any organisation, introducing an extra layer of management can lead to an overlap in roles and possible relationship difficulties, at least initially, and has the potential to slow the decision-making process. It also creates the risk that accountability at the top of the organisation is blurred. In the CAA, these risks may be particularly relevant to the Chief Executive’s interface with the group directors and Chairman. For instance, appointing a Chief Executive could reduce the scope of the group directors’ responsibilities. This could have implications for the CAA’s ability to recruit and retain high-quality individuals.

106. I believe that these disadvantages can be mitigated so long as the transition phase is well managed. The boundary between the role of the Chief Executive and those of the Chairman and executive directors would need to be set out carefully. My expectation is that the Chief Executive would work full-time, with a primary responsibility for the management of the work of the Authority as a whole. To minimise the risk of overlap with the executive directors, I hope that it will be clear that they are expected to continue in the lead in their own areas. The Chief Executive would need to know what is going on in some detail in order to be an effective leader of the whole organisation and from time to time to represent the CAA publicly.

The report did recommend the appointment of a CEO. I expect that this change has contributed towards the current situation that exists today.

5th Apr 2018, 12:25
Could it be that the CAA has been reduced to being the customer facing representation of EASA?

off watch
6th Apr 2018, 13:30
An ex colleague of mine who works for them tells me that Aviation House is now known in some quarters as R.A.F. Gatwick. You can draw your own conclusions ........

Kelly Hopper
6th Apr 2018, 14:34
Have you ever considered that if they want to make your life so difficult, just FEm and do it anyway? I know many that have, none that have met with a problem. Not that
I would condone anything unlawful but we are trying to EARN a living. They get it regardless

old,not bold
6th Apr 2018, 16:05
I have been dealing with the CAA since 1970; on behalf of various employers and my own companies, at various times at Gatwick with flight ops, PLD for Part 147 matters, airworthiness, airports, and ATC , and in London for ATOL licensing and economic matters, and on my personal behalf with PLD at Gatwick for my licence.

The downward dive into incompetence (used in its technical sense), inefficiency, and sheer laziness started 15+ years ago, not 5. It's not too hard to find some contributory factors at about that time.

The only positive comment that could be made that the corruption that was present among FOIs and Surveyors in the '70s and '80s was less evident in later decades. But not totally absent; I know of one decision in the last 10 years, made by a man who is still there, now in a senior role, that was so blatantly perverse and wrong that the only possible reason was corruption in one form or another.

By about 5 years ago it was fair to say that 99% of the good guys, whose numbers had decreased steadily over the previous decade, had left the building, many to join firms they had assiduously fed business to such as training companies and consultants. Those that remain are there to serve out time for their pensions, and are unemployable anywhere else in any case.

As an EASA enforcer they are barely functional. As a regulatory authority they would need 10-15 years to recover any capability.

I am very glad that I am backing gently and slowly out of the aviation industry in the UK, and indeed in Europe. My experience of a large number of EASA Workshops and similar events is that the lack of knowledge, experience and ability in the CAA at Gatwick is closely matched in EASA in Cologne.

Private jet
7th Apr 2018, 12:46
An ex colleague of mine who works for them tells me that Aviation House is now known in some quarters as R.A.F. Gatwick. You can draw your own conclusions ........

It was always known as the "ex RAF navigators club". Full of squadron "old boys" who obviously had no other aviation employment options outside the service. (Think why the syllabus of the Nav Gen ATPL exam was so pointlessly extensive)

old,not bold
7th Apr 2018, 13:13
As a postscript to Private Jet; many years ago an Aerodrome Inspector was nominated to a new project to re-open an ex-military airfield as a small regional airport, mainly GA, so me minor commercial activity etc.

He was an affable, pleasant chap, whose RAF fast-jet career had been terminated by either injury or illness. He had been in the CAA only a few months, as I understood it.

To say that he didn't have a clue about ICAO and CAA requirements for an airport is understating it. He was a stranger to the copy of CAP 168 he would reach for in any discussion. For example, we had to explain, in one-syllable words, what the various surfaces were, and what safe-guarding was all about.

He did recommend strongly that the runway arrester barriers should be re-installed at each end of the long runway, of which we were planning to licence 2,000m, which he didn't quite understand.

The project sank in the planning process, and we parted friends. But that experience bears out the "Ex-RAF Employment Society" view, although I'm not sure how true that is now.