Reforming the framework for the economic regulation of airports

Newcastle international airport

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates airports where there is no effective competition - currently Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. It does this by putting measures in place for these airports to deliver services in a way which replicates a competitive market. The legislative framework for this economic regulation was established in the 1980s and is in need of reform.


In the Queen’s Speech the Government announced its intention to bring forward reform to the economic regulation of airports to benefit passengers and to drive investment in airport facilities.

On 21 July 2010 the Secretary of State for Transport provided Parliament with further detail on the direction of the reforms. These will allow economic regulation of airports to be targeted at delivering passengers’ priorities and will remove unnecessary bureaucracy and political involvement from the process.

On 3 March 2011 the Secretary of State for Transport laid a further written ministerial statement in Parliament confirming that the Government will introduce legislation to implement these reforms early in the next Parliamentary session.

The reforms follow an independent review of airport economic regulation and subsequent consultation. Documents relating to these reviews released under the previous Government have been archived.

Analysis of consultation responses