wp8885eeee_06General Aviation is officially defined as “All Civil Aviation operations other than scheduled air services and non-scheduled air transport operations for remuneration or hire”

In simple terms, GA is part of aviation activity which is neither scheduled airline or military flying. On the other hand, it does not mean, as some popular opinion would have it, that GA is simply a leisure activity of private individuals.

GA is a modern transportation system which serves people, and helps to promote and improve the economic and social life of the country. Its vehicles vary from balloons and microlight aircraft to high performance jet-engined “executive” aircraft, through the whole gamut of light aircraft helicopters: its purposes ranging over an equally wide area:

EFFICIENT POINT TO POINT TRANSPORT serving business & private use

EXPRESS DELIVERY of essential items

AGRICULTURE protecting livestock, crops and forests

HELI-MED & LIFE SAVING transport of dangerously ill people and of urgently needed human organs, medical equipment and medicines

TRAFFIC CONTROL monitoring traffic movements from the air

CIVIL SEARCH/RESCUE often in conjunction with local police

LAW ENFORCEMENT fighting crime, including drug smuggling

AERIAL SURVEY pipeline patrols, photography for map-making and oil exploration

PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT pollution control, fire fighting and fishery protection

SPORT & LEISURE including recreational aviation and model aircraft flying


HELPING THE DISABLED to experience the pleasures of flying

FLYING FOR YOUTH giving air experience to young people

FLYING DISPLAYS entertaining hundreds of thousands of spectators each year

And most important of all:

PILOT TRAINING providing the pilots to fly the airliners which carry people on holidays and other personal journeys, and those on professional or other business

It may come as a surprise to learn that, in terms of flying activity, GA is a much bigger activity than Commercial Air Transport (CAT).

Did you know?

  • there are more Private Pilot Licences than Commercial Licences
  • there are eight times more GA aircraft in the UK than there are airliners
  • there are at least six times more movements by GA aircraft in the UK than by CAT craft
  • worldwide, GA aircraft accounted for 75% of all hours flown by civil aircraft
  • approximately 85% of aircraft departures Worldwide, are General Aviation

And there’s more:

  • in the UK, DfT statistics demonstrate an economic contribution from GA flying of around £1.1 Billion
  • in addition, exports from GA manufacturing & benefits from the use of business aviation total £1.9 billion, this add up to a value to the UK economy of £3 billion per annum
  • DfT figures indicate around 9700 jobs supported by GA flying activity and around 28400 jobs supported by GA manufacturing, a total in excess of 38000 jobs, many of them highly skilled.

(Source: DfT Survey March 2015)