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Civil Aviation Authority

Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 18 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on the Civil Aviation Authority will be published; and if he will make a statement.

The report is published today. In contrast to its more wide-ranging 1983 report, the commission was asked to focus its attention particularly on the authority's arrangement for managing its investment programme and for identifying and implementing improvements in efficiency.The commission found that the authority was not pursuing a course of conduct which operated against the public interest.The commission recognised the authority's achievement in maintaining its excellent safety record in the face of the marked growth of air traffic in recent years. While disappointed that the authority had initially been slow to implement the recommendations of its 1983 report, the commission found that the new management team appointed from 1986 onwards was now tackling the authority's problems. For example, an extensive investment programme is under way and there had been a market recent improvement in the authority's record of project control.The commission made a number of recommendations, giving particular priority to:

  • (a) the implementation of effective corporate manpower planning, in particular to address the shortage of air traffic control officers;
  • (b) the use of corporate planning to illustrate trends in performance;
  • (c) implementation of improvements in project management to the authority's suggested time-scale;
  • (d) greater transparency in and explanation of charges.
  • The authority will be producing a preliminary response to the commission's findings within three to four months, in the light of which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport will make a statement.