GAAC Welcomes Initiatives to Support Airfields

The General Aviation Awareness Council (GAAC), which represents the interests of numerous UK GA associations in particular where they relate to access to airfields and airspace, has welcomed two recent developments that fall under the auspices of the Department for Transport (DfT) — the release of the revised version of CAP 738 by the CAA, providing more comprehensive guidance on the “Safeguarding of Aerodromes”; and, shortly afterwards, the announcement by DfT of the new Airfield Development Advisory Fund (ADAF).

ADAF: A Welcome First Step

The ADAF is a positive step towards the UK GA sector’s goal of boosting airfield infrastructure and ensuring better resilience and growth prospects.

It comes at a difficult time as the second wave of COVID-19 creates ongoing uncertainty, and against the backdrop of continuing uncertainty created by changes in planning legislation and an increasing need for legal protection for the UK’s airfield infrastructure.

Under ADAF, UK airfields and associated businesses can apply for access to Government-funded professional and business advice on a range of topics, aimed at supporting future airfield development.

DfT noted that ADAF is to be managed by the CAA and administered by ICF, a global consulting and digital services provider.

Advice available includes, among other things, planning and conservation policy, accountancy, business model development, marketing strategy and innovation.

Airfields applying for advice through the fund can be licensed or unlicensed and must handle fewer than 200,000 terminal passengers on average per year.

Aviation Minister Robert Courts commented: “Airfields are at the heart of the innovative £3 billion General Aviation sector and it’s vital that we protect and support their future development… the Airfield Development Advisory Fund will help airfields grow, create more local jobs, and inspire the next generation of enthusiasts and professionals.”

GAAC vice-chairman John Gilder stated: “The GA community should welcome this modest first step in central government funding and utilise the knowledge and experience of professional consultants to ‘sense check’ existing proposals, and perhaps identify additional or alternative ways to optimise the use of our airfields.”

He continued: “GA has to demonstrate its appreciation by taking up this initiative to encourage further, more significant support in the future.

“We therefore hope that airfield owners and operators will utilise this fund to optimise their own potential and to highlight the need for further capital funding within our industry so that it can achieve the government’s aspiration to remain a world leader in General Aviation.”

For Safeguarding of Aerodromes (CAP 738 Issue 3) please see:

Safeguarding of Aerodromes

For further information on ADAF please see:

Airfield Development Advisory Fund.

The initial deadline for ADAF funding applications is 3rd December 2020.

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