GAA has achieved great support since the website was launched only two weeks ago. Hundreds of people linked in minutes after we went live, and more than 100 people have subscribed to contribute their thoughts. The site received more than 3000 hits in 14 days, which is encouraging – given the small base of interested people in our country.
More importantly and more imminent, though, the site has alerted many to the implications of CAA’s plans for our rapidly diminishing cache of valuable D Cat instructors – and the absurd deadline that CAA declared for submissions. Des Lines’ submission on this has received more than 80 co-signatories, and we have received several submissions from individuals.
Some of these innocent people have told GAA that – but for the alert given on this website – they might have missed the problem completely. All of them say that if CAA has its way, their expertise will be withdrawn.
CAA has unwittingly provided GAA with a long agenda, ranging from its painful fee increases to new proposals that might have unlicensed aerodrome operators required to report traffic movements, and proposed CPL Microlight fees.
But let’s think positively. GAA has received guarded support from the CAA’s Director.
CEO Graeme Harris told GAA in an email that he favours dialogue. He said:
“I’m very supportive of the [general] aviation sector organising itself in order to more effectively express its views on issues affecting it. If it is able to do that in an open, honest and impartial way, then I’m very keen to hear what it has to say. I’m also keen to use whatever channels are available to improve the CAA’s communication with the sector. Taking up my current role just before the implementation of a funding review that started in 2010 may be a classic example of bad timing, but it has certainly reinforced to me the importance of communication. It has also highlighted the fact that there is not a universally good knowledge in the sector of some quite important issues that impact on it. Communication may not lead to agreement on issues, but it is definitely a two-way process and if we can gain a better perspective on sector priorities while at the same time improving the sector’s knowledge of matters such as the CAA’s role, Government’s priorities for transport and the legal framework within which we work, then that has to be a good thing.
“In summary, I’m open to informed, reasonable criticism and if you need comment on, or explanation of, any issue don’t hesitate to let me know. If I can’t respond personally, I’ll ask someone else to do so.”
We welcome the active involvement of CAA in what is proving to be a fast-moving agenda, and will try to keep Graeme to his promise.
The CAA, Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee and not a few MPs now know that GAA and its supporters are in this for the long haul, and we are not going away.
Some people have told GAA they fear that if they stick their head above the fence, CAA might make them a target. If enough of us are prepared to stand up, this fear will prove groundless. So please support your friends and do not be afraid to express your opinion, even if you need to remain anonymous. We will protect your privacy.
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