Civil Aviation Authority

From airspace management and airline regulation to holiday maker oversight and consumer protection, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) works to address various aspects of aerospace and aviation sectors in the United Kingdom. A public corporation, the CAA is the primary regulatory of aviation in the UK and plays oversight and enforcement roles in various direct and indirect ways.

About the CAA

The CAA makes rules, enforces requirements and regulations by taking enforcement action, and influences the mitigation of risks related to aviation in the UK. Established in 1972 under the Civil Aviation Act, 1971, it is a statutory or public corporation. The CAA reports directly to the UK government, including through the Cabinet Office's Standards Group. Currently, the public corporation is guided by the Civil Aviation Act, 1982. The CAA is headquartered in Holburn within the London Borough of Camden.

The corporation regulates various professions within the aviation sector, specifically pilots, aircraft engineers and air traffic controllers. The CAA also regulates airlines, aerodromes, aircraft registered in the UK, and organisations that are involves in the design, production and maintenance of aircraft. It also plays a role in regulating and overseeing the Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL) scheme and ATOL holders, such as package holiday companies.


The CAA comprises of over 1,000 people who work with every aspect of aerospace and aviation sectors in the UK. The public corporation is divided into the Safety and Airspace Regulation Group, the Regulatory Policy Group, and the Consumer Protection Group. While the CAA's head office is located at CAA House on Kingsway in Holborn, the Safety and Airspace Regulation Group is located in Aviation House at Gatwick Airport.

The Safety and Airspace Regulation Group (SARG) works to make sure that civil aviation standards are set and achieved. Areas of responsibility include airspace regulation, airspace utilisation, aeronautical information management regulation, coordination and consultation, environmental research consultancy, meteorology, and surveillance and spectrum management. The SARG helps ensure that aircraft are designed, manufactured, maintained and operated correctly, that airlines operate safely with trained flight crews, that airports operate with effective air traffic controllers, and that aircraft maintenance engineers are competent. The unit also works to harmonise standards in all aspects of aviation. It also monitors activities within the sector and is responsible for planning and regulating UK airspace, including the UK's navigation and communications infrastructure.

The Regulatory Policy Group (RPG) provides policy and economic advice to all areas within the CIM, as well as government, airlines, airports and air traffic services. The main functions of the RPG include economic regulation of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, as well as the National Air Traffic Services (NATS). The RPG also enforces consumer legislation and collects aviation statistics.

The Consumer Protection Group (CPG) regulates the finances and fitness of travel companies in the UK. It also manages the Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL) consumer protection system, a scheme that provides licenses to all firms that sell air holidays and flights. The CPG also licenses airlines in the UK, enforces European Commission requirements for airlines, and enforces other legal requirements and codes of practice that help protect airline customers.


The CAA plays an important role in various aspects of aviation. One of the main roles of the CAA is protecting consumers to ensure risks are minimised. The CAA also promotes awareness of consumer rights. As a result, the CAA enforces consumer protection rules, regulations and other requirements related to aviation. The CAA's regulatory role also includes enforcing rules related to transporting dangerous goods and aircraft noise. Responsibilities of the CAA also include the safety and management of the UK's airspace and the economic regulation of select airports, specifically Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports. The CAA also regulates ATOL licences and manages its financial protection scheme, which refunds holidaymakers when travel companies fail.

Domestically, the CAA is guided by the Civil Aviation Act, the Air Navigation Order and the Civil Aviation Authority Regulations. Since aviation regulation and policy is largely harmonised between jurisdictions around the world, the CAA plays a role in ensuring aviation in the UK reflects international safety and consumer protection standards. The organisation works with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to promote safety and environmental protection standards, including regulations and legislation originating from the European Commission and its agencies. The CAA also assists with the development of these regulations and other policies with the European Commission and other organisations. Internationally, the CAA works with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to implement international safety standards and treaties.

Contact Information

For more information about the Civil Aviation Authority, visit

CAA House
45-59 Kingsway
Main Switchboard: (44) 020 7379 7311

Aviation House
Gatwick Airport South
West Sussex
Main Switchboard: (44) 01293 567171