Members of two of the UK’s largest general aviation associations, the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) and the Light Aircraft Association (LAA), are being asked to consider a potential merger.
According to the LAA, the two associations began discussions of a merger earlier in the summer, following close collaboration on a possible ‘opt out’ of EASA regulations pertaining to the emerging 600kg light sport aircraft class, applicable to both associations.
Recognising additional areas of alignment between the associations led them to form a working group to examine potential benefits of a merger and whether there were any areas of concern that might prevent a successful merger from proceeding.
According to the LAA, a number of benefits were identified by the working group. These included an increased voice at regulatory level, as a merger would make them the single largest GA association in the UK at 11,000+ members, significant cost savings, and increased resources to develop and sustain a high level of engineering expertise for this significant proportion of the UK general aviation fleet.
In an advice paper sent to its members ahead of their AGM on 20 October, when the LAA will ask their membership to vote on a possible merger, the association said: “An association of this size will be a significant stakeholder in all aviation matters nationally and will be able to broaden the scope of what can be offered to members, improve response to member technical enquiries and provide a broader base to support necessary expenditure.
Not only that, it would be the natural home for all manner of pilots and builders whether your passion is for plans built aircraft, factory built 600kg aircraft or flex wing microlights – we all have one aim – aviation!”
If the two associations’ members appear willing to proceed and their lawyers rubber stamp the proposal then indications are that the merger could happen as early as next year.
Commenting on the proposal, Steve Slater, CEO of the LAA, said, “The opportunity for a merger between the two Associations, which would make us the largest single sport flying body in the UK, is an exciting one.
“Both organisations bring different assets to the party.
The BMAA have great outreach and flying training capabilities, while the LAA recruits existing pilots, has unmatched engineering credentials and a more diverse flying fleet.
“Ultimately though, the decision whether or not to merger will be that of the members. What they say, goes!”
Geoff Weighell, CEO of the BMAA, added, “The BMAA and LAA have formed a working group to discuss close working and the possibility of a merger. BMAA members have asked for details of how a new association might operate and how it might be different.
“We feel that it is important to be able to answer these questions before asking our members to approve a merger, and we are now working towards being able to supply the answers.”