What’s the Government doing to help GA?

The Flying Reporter asks Robert Courts MP, the UK’s Minister for Aviation, what his government plans to do to help general aviation cope with the various challenges it faces.

From Airspace, GNSS approaches, tax policy, planning policy and aerodromes this wide-ranging interview probes the minister on some of the key issues facing the sector.  

The interview comes as the Department for Transport publishes its’ GA roadmap with a stated ambition of making the UK be regarded as the best place in the world for aviation.  The Government’s Roadmap can be found below.

During the interview the minister explained that his department had given advice to 90 applicants to its Airfield Development Advisory Fund. Examples shared with The Flying Reporter include;

  • Goodwood – Advice to Goodwood on their communications strategy to address noise issues with the community, local authority and residents. Including the development of communications products to explain the causes of noise and what the airfield are doing to address these concerns such as revised air traffic control procedures, circuit redesign etc. 
  • Plymouth – Advice on a range of operational scenarios for reinstating operations, including cost, technical and planning implications. This advice has been focused predominately for GA operations.
  • Blackpool – Providing technical support for the potential relocation of the ATC tower to a new location, as well as advice on the adoption of new ATC technology, named Virtual Remote Towers.

The Flying Reporter has spoken to applicants other than those listed, and it is clear that there is mixed feedback on the fund. One aerodrome told me it had been a waste of time and money, another said it helped them confirm what they already suspected, another applicant found the process had helped them go some way towards designing a new logo and branding for their business.

Mr Courts also explained that there had been 3333 applications to the government’s electronic conspicuity fund, which allows aircraft owners and pilots to claim a 50% rebate of the purchase cost of an EC device to a maximum of £250.00 (including VAT). Funding for 4000 devices was allocated until September 2021.