Airports Commission “Senior Delivery Group” report – on implementing (unpopular?) airspace changes
The Airports Commission’s Senior Delivery Group – for implementation of airspace changes – was set up in the summer of 2014, by Patrick McLoughlin, on the suggestion of the Commission. It is led by the CAA. It produced its first report in July 2014 when it stated “the SDG will encourage the gathering of evidence to help strike the right balance between operational benefits and the impact on local communities affected by aircraft noise.” It has now produced its second report, a technical paper on the “Implementation of Performance-Based Navigation in the UK.” This says: “The measures included in FAS are a pre-requisite for accommodating future growth in demand for aviation, regardless of whether there is a decision to build new runway capacity.” It aims to ensure “local communities have a say in how the modernisation programme is delivered. Effective engagement with those that may be impacted by the changes is critical to the development of a modern, sustainable air transport route network.” And “Before an airspace trial commences, there should always be a consideration of what level of consultation is appropriate and proportionate to the objectives of the trial and in view of its likely impact”. The presumption throughout is that there will be more air travel, more flight paths, and these will be concentrated. Consultation with affected communities should be enough to solve the problem…. ?
In the first report of the Airports Commission Senior Delivery Group
Andrew Haines signed off his foreward saying: “I look forward to setting out the progress made by the time our second report is published at the end of 2014.”
So this second report has now been produced.
Airports Commission’s Senior Delivery Group –
Technical Report Number 01
Implementation of Performance-Based Navigation in the UK
Implementation of Performance-Based Navigation in the UK
The UK Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) is a programme designed to modernise our
airspace and air transport route network. It is an important part of the Government’s
transport policy and involves the airlines, airports, air traffic control and many other
The programme also forms part of the Single European Sky (SES)1
initiative, which sets out implementing rules, backed by legislation, to drive the reform of airspace and air
traffic management across all European States. Similar modernisation initiatives are
taking place across the globe, coordinated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Much of the air navigation technology that supports air transport needs upgrading.
Doing nothing is not an option. The introduction of new technology, like Performance
Based Navigation (PBN), will strengthen the resilience of our major airports to react
effectively to disruption, improve the environmental performance of aircraft arrival and
departure routes and further enhance air safety.
The measures included in FAS are a pre-requisite for accommodating future growth in
demand for aviation, regardless of whether there is a decision to build new runway
capacity. This is important for the whole country because the aviation sector is a key
driver for the economy, international trade and employment.
The Government and aviation industry are committed to ensuring that local
communities have a say in how the modernisation programme is delivered. Effective
engagement with those that may be impacted by the changes is critical to the
development of a modern, sustainable air transport route network.
Measures needed to upgrade the route network can alter the distribution of aircraft
noise over the ground and some local communities may be affected differently.
Aircraft follow PBN routes more accurately because they are satellite based, which leads
to a greater concentration of traffic around the route centreline.
Removing the link to ground based navigational aids means that airspace routes can be
designed flexibly around densely populated areas, but the areas that are overflown may
experience disturbance more regularly.
The accuracy of PBN routes creates the potential to introduce alternative flight paths
that can be switched on and off to provide areas which are disturbed by aircraft noise
with some respite from overflights.
The distance that multiple flight paths should be separated in order to create effective
noise respite is currently unknown, will vary by airport, and may require some routes
outside the existing Noise Preferential Route (NPR) structure.
Airports and air traffic control are exploring the use of respite routes that do not lead to
a significant number of new people being affected by noise, but there are operational
constraints on the number of such possible routes.
Airports Commission’s Senior Delivery Group (SDG), February 2015.
Page 8 of the AC “Senior Delivery Group” technical report on implementing PBN sets out where each airport has got to.
The Senior Delivery Group was set up in summer 2014, as described in a statement by Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Minister:
The commission’s report recommended development of a broad ‘Optimisation strategy’ to improve the efficiency of UK airports and airspace at congested airports, balanced against the needs of local communities. As recommended by the commission, I have asked the Chief Executive of the CAA to establish an industry focused Senior Delivery Group (SDG) to develop and where appropriate lead delivery of this strategy. The new group has now been established and is contributing to a range of different measures that aim to balance operational benefits, the timelines for delivery, community impacts and environmental improvements. Where changes are wholly within the responsibility of industry, we expect them to deliver. Where government has regulatory responsibility or oversight, it will continue to discharge this, for example by undertaking further consideration and consultation in the light of views and priorities expressed in the SDG. Some of the measures considered by the SDG form part of the national future airspace strategy (FAS) which is expected to deliver annual benefits of over £150 million to the aviation industry and environment by 2020 and more than £2 billion worth of cumulative benefits by 2030.
See more here
Senior Delivery Group – First report
Delivery Report #1
Published by the Civil Aviation Authority
The introduction states:
There is a strong consensus among SDG
members that a set of short and medium term
optimisation measures should be progressed
as a priority because of their potential to
improve the operational efficiency of the
airspace system, and at the same time offer
benefits to local communities. The
optimisation strategy will be shaped by
economic, political, environmental,
regulatory, and technical considerations. It’s
the SDG’s ambition to work within the bounds
of these considerations to maximise the
performance improvements that can be
delivered in the next 2 to 5 years, in advance
of any decision on a long term solution for
additional capacity, which is a matter still
being examined by the Airports Commission.
The SDG is overseeing the delivery of an
ambitious set of measures concentrating on
improvements to the airspace system. The
current system was developed over forty
years ago. Since then, the demand for aviation
has increased one hundred fold.
The technologies now common in modern
aircraft, airport operations and air traffic
management create the potential to optimise
the system. The measures overseen by the
SDG are the cornerstone of the UK’s Future
Airspace Strategy (FAS), which is about the
need to coordinate the implementation of
new technologies and operating procedures
across the UK. The SDG’s optimisation
strategy features three sets of measures:
1. Operating to schedule
2. Tactical responses to traffic overloads
3. Investments in the route infrastructure
The SDG will oversee the deployment of the
measures and initiate work to track the
benefits and community impacts in order to
strike the balance between operational and
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my
fellow group members for their commitment
to this important initiative. As Chair of the
SDG, I’m encouraged by the start we have
made and the scope of the optimisation
strategy described in our first delivery report.
Successful deployment of the optimisation
strategy will require significant industry
collaboration and Government support to
tackle the challenges that have prevented
changes being made in the past.
I look forward to setting out the progress
made by the time our second report is
published at the end of 2014.
and it states
“the SDG will encourage the gathering of evidence to help strike the right balance between operational benefits and the impact on local communities affected by aircraft noise.”
[One could ask: “Right for whom?”]