Civil Aviation Authority (United Kingdom)

Civil Aviation Authority
Abbreviation CAA
Formation 1972
Legal status Government-owned corporation
Purpose/focus Air travel in the UK
Location Islington, London Borough of Islington
Region served UK
Membership Air travel companies and operators
Chief Executive Andrew Haines
Main organ CAA Board

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the public corporation which oversees and regulates all aspects of aviation in the United Kingdom. The CAA head office is located in the CAA House on Kingsway in Holborn, London Borough of Camden.[1] The CAA Safety Regulation Group is in the Aviation House in Gatwick Airport in Crawley, England.[2]



The CAA was established in 1972, under the terms of the Civil Aviation Act 1971, following the recommendations of a government committee chaired by Sir Ronald Edwards.[3] Previously, regulation of aviation was the responsibility of the Air Registration Board. The current main Act of Parliament regulating aviation in the UK is the Civil Aviation Act 1982. Responsibility for air traffic control in the UK passed to NATS in the run-up to the establishment of its public-private partnership in 2001.


The CAA employs just over 1,000 staff, mainly in two offices, CAA House in Kingsway, Holborn in London and Aviation House, next to London Gatwick Airport. It does not get any direct government funding, but runs entirely on subscriptions from its member companies. It is classed as a public corporation in the public sector. The connection it has with the government is via the Machinery of Government and Standards Group of the Cabinet Office.


The CAA directly or indirectly regulates all aspects of aviation in the UK. In some aspects of aviation it is the primary regulator, in other areas, where the responsibility for regulation has passed to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the CAA acts as EASA's local office, implementing the regulations. Representatives from the CAA sit on EASA's advisory bodies, taking part in the Europe-wide regulation process.


The CAA's responsibilities include:

  • Flight Crew, Aircraft Engineer and Air Traffic Controller licensing;
  • Medical regulation of safety-critical aviation personnel;
  • Licensing of aerodromes and other aviation facilities;
  • Maintaining the UK register of aircraft;
  • Licensing of aircraft;
  • Regulation of aircraft airworthiness and related engineering functions;
  • Economic regulation, including the regulation of monopoly and near-monopoly organisations involved in the provision of aviation services (for example National Air Traffic Services and BAA Limited), as well as regulating aviation-related organisations operating in a competitive marketplace (for example UK-based airlines);
  • Development of aviation policy, both within the UK and Europe-wide.


The CAA also oversees the Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL). The ATOL licence offers financial protection for travellers booking package tours, in the form of insurance to provide return journeys for holidaymakers stranded abroad by the sudden bankruptcy of an airline or tour operator.

CAA Flying Unit

Preserved de Havilland Dove aircraft G-ALFU of CAA at Duxford Airfield, EGSU.

The CAA were also responsible for the calibration of navigation and approach aids until this was privatised as Flight Calibration Services Ltd. The CAAs Flying Unit has operated a variety of primarily British aircraft including de Havilland Doves,[4] Hawker Siddeley HS 748s[5][6] and Hawker Siddeley HS 125s.[7]

Aerodrome Licensing

There are a number of unlicensed aerodromes/airfields, however, those with higher traffic levels will usually require a license. The different licence categories that are issued to Airfields, Aerodromes/Airports by the CAA:

  • Permanent License
  • Public Use License
  • Ordinary License
  • Seasonal License: Issued to those aerodromes that are in use for more than 12 consecutive days, but less than 12 months in a year.
  • Temporary License: Issued to those aerodromes that are in use for not more than 12 consecutive days.

See also


External links

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