Two-penneth – for what its worth

The aviation feeds on Twitter have been buzzing since thursday when Andrew Haines published a statement on the CAA website (and quoted in the Times) taking a stab at the aviation industry and air show community as being in opposition to new safety practices.In support of BADA’s address to Mr Haines to retract his statement, it should be pointed out that no pilot or organiser that Airscene has spoken to has voiced any opposition at all over the changes now put in place. Not one single person wants to see a repeat of the Shoreham crash, not the organiers, not the pilots and certainly not the watching public.

Mr Haines comments seem to be about preservation and politics more than anything else. There hasn’t been a single fatality at a British Airshow for 63 years – a fact that I am sure gave Mr Haines comfort when making his decision’s to downsize the CAA and offer out the reponsibility of Airshow Management to BADA.

That’s a pretty good safety record – in fact more people have died on their journey to those airshows in all those 63 years, than as a result of an aeroplane crashing – and then Shoreham happens…. Shoreham happens and the organisation under Mr Haines suddenly have a job to do again. Mr Haines now has to earn his £250k per year salary, be seen to be making effective decisions and all in the very public spotlight.

So Mr Haines attacks the air show community, perhaps because he feels it is something he must do to defend his own position, a position of exorbitant increases in CAA fees, and his own departments failure to deliver full details of the regulatory changes in a timely manner.

Another possibility is that Mr Haines failed to deliver on the targets set by the Secretary of State to return profits of 6% per annum before tax. Last years Annual Return shows only 3.1%, with a reduced target for 15/16 of 3.5% (agreed by the Secretary of State).

(Wondering if Mr Haines ever worked in the Banking sector)

Perhaps Mr Haines still hasnt met those targets and his quarter million pound job is in jeopardy? Perhaps though the increases should have been expected, after all the signs were there in 2010…

“When the day is filled with billion-pound investments, toppling tour companies and strident debates with airlines and civil servants, it seemsperverse that the CAA must concern itself with penny-ante puddle-jumpers with no revenue sources that must, by any measure, cause more grief to the Authority than we are worth. Are we not an irrelevance and a distraction? We fly in the air, but so do pigeons. Is the regulation of GA not disproportionateto its ability to fund CAA regulation?

One of the first things I got stuck into at the CAA was this question of costs, Haines says. In fact, based on the information we have available to us CAA costs are very marginal.”

(Interview with Pat Malone – IAOPA Europe)

This kinda makes his declaration that “Safety must be the Priority” questionable – your priorities are pretty clear Mr Haines!. Airshows are being cancelled BECAUSE THE FEES ARE TOO HIGH – industry will suffer, charities will suffer, tourism will suffer, the public will suffer. The increase in fee’s should be reconsidered, an apology from Mr Haines should be considered, and perhaps he should go back to playing with his train set.

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