When the Civil Aviation Act 2023 (the 2023 Act) comes into effect on 5 April 2025, it is required that all existing Aviation Rules are reissued under the new Act.

Updating all 50 Rule parts requires redrafting and Ministerial approval, but it is not a rewrite of the rules, as the aviation industry understands a ‘rewrite’.

Normally, when a rule is rewritten, it involves policy changes and requires consultation with the aviation sector. However, the existing rules are not being rewritten – instead, words and phrases are being updated to ensure the rules can continue under the new Act when it comes into effect.

The CAA and Ministry of Transport are working through all 50 rule parts to align them with the 2023 Act.  

In practice, this means that:

  • The current rule numbering is retained in both rule parts and sub-parts.
  • Each Rule is updated to refer to the appropriate part of the 2023 Act instead of the 1990 Act.
  • Language is being updated and modernised to improve ease of use, particularly for people who are not legally trained, e.g. the outdated term ‘forthwith’ will be replaced with ‘as soon as possible’.
  • Definitions are referenced back to the 2023 Act.
  • The need for readers to follow successive cross references is minimised.
  • The word ‘shall’ will be replaced by one of ‘must’, ‘may’ or ‘will’ so the intent is clear, definite, and commonly understood.
  • To improve ease of use, acronyms will be defined in the Rules.
  • Other changes to the Rules will be to align them with 2023 Act provisions, such as changes to aviation security, terminology, and technology
  • References to specific CAA forms will be replaced with ‘the approved CAA form’ to future proof the Rules against changes to forms.

The above list is not exhaustive and there is the occasional exception. Where a change could be broader than this, it will be highlighted when the drafts are shared with the sector before being finalised. For instance, some elements of Part 19 – Transition Rules, which are not in fact transitional rules anymore, are being moved to the appropriate rule parts to give clarity for the sector.

Why don’t we make bigger changes?

The 2023 Act provides a streamlined approval process for the 50 Aviation Rule parts to be aligned with it. The Act is prescriptive about what can be done during this process. Significant policy changes, which would have an impact on sector participants, will not be made as part of this process as there is insufficient time to formally consult before the Act comes into effect.

The goal is for the Rules to align with the 2023 Act without changing intent or impacting certificated participants’ compliance.

How will the sector know what the changes are?

While formal consultation is not required, the sector will have the opportunity to see the draft rules before they are finalised. We will provide commentary on the changes which are proposed.

This is programmed for October/November this year (2024), but industry representatives have raised concerns that this is too late, so the CAA and Ministry of Transport are seeing if we can bring this timeline forward.

Moratorium on rules remaking while alignment happens

There is a moratorium on remaking rules while the realignment occurs.

Importantly, the policy work required to remake rules continues – so, although we are not running parallel public processes, which could cause confusion, we will be in a position to progress a number of rule changes shortly after 5 April 2025.

As well, the team working on the rules realignment, is capturing issues outside the realignment scope, so they can also be progressed once the process is completed.