HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 c344W
Mr. Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has had with the Civil Aviation Authority about safety(a) in general, (b) relating to the spaces between seats on aircraft and (c) relating to reclining seats; and if he will make a statement. [103598]

Mr. Mullin

Both the Minister for Transport and I meet representatives of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) from time to time to discuss a wide range of aviation safety issues.

The UK is unique in having an airworthiness requirement for minimum seat space. The CAA, which is responsible for the safety regulation of UK registered passenger aircraft, has set minimum requirements for seating space because it is one of a number of factors which can have an effect on the evacuation of an aircraft in an emergency. The specified minimum space between seats applies for the seat backs in the upright position, as required for take-off and landing. Providing that the minimum standards are adhered to, the seat spacing and the amount of recline available and their effect on passenger comfort is a matter for the operators.