CAA launches Development of Future Airspace Strategy consultation

CAA Airspace Strategy

The CAA is drawing up its plans for Future Airspace Strategy for the UK to take
us up to 2030.

Its very draft plan is on the CAA website and is out to consultation until 7th
February.   The consultation is primarily to get feedback from the industry, but
all responses are accepted.

The plan is about airspace policy and principles; it is not about detailed routes
and flight paths.   Clearly, however, routes and flight paths in due course will
be affected by the final strategy.

The strategy is being driven by two things:

–  the growing congestion of the skies in South East England

–  the EU requirement to feed into European developments, notably the Single European
Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) programme and the continuing work
of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The CAA strategy is based on its belief that aviation across Europe will continue
to grow significantly though, following the new Government’s decision to drop
new runways in the South East, it stresses that Government policy is unpredictable.

It aims, therefore, to make the use of airspace more efficient while at the same
time not compromising safety and seeking environmental improvements (particularly
around emissions and noise).

Key to the whole operation is the new technology which is coming on-stream.  
Systems like P-RNAV allow planes to be guided with pinpoint accuracy with much
less dependence on the pilot or the individual air traffic controller.

The other big factor they are looking to is much better co-operation between
users of airspace to lead to more flexible and efficient use of the airspace –
for example, at present some airspace is reserved for the military but is only
used by a few flights a week; this could be utilized by civilian aircraft at other
times.   They are also looking to much better cooperation between European countries.

In practice, the CAA is proposing some radical changes:

•  They would like to do away with holding stacks as they argue (correctly) that
the planes in the stacks as they are circling around take up precious airspace,
burn more fuel and thus create extra emissions and cause unnecessary noise.

•  They believe they can find ways by which planes can  cllimb more rapidly.   This
would cut noise and emissions but it would also free up airspace.   The CAA admitted
that in the South East everything is really determined by Heathrow.   Aircraft
using other airports, and particularly London  City, are currently hemmed in by
Heathrow aircraft.

The CAA has worked within current Government policy which says that aircraft
should avoid densely populated areas; that they should be concentrated; and that
they should not be diverted to new areas without very good reason.   But there
is a sense that the CAA might welcome some flexibility from government as they
talk about curved landing approaches to airports which would spread the noise
burden a bit.

For anyone with strong views on flightpaths, and the future of aviation, it is
worth responding to this consultation.
In addition, the Government is going to start drawing up its aviation policy
next year.    
The consultation closes on 7th February 2011 
from the CAA website

Consultation Details
Start Date:01/11/2010
Closing Date:07/02/2011
Outcome:Development of Future Airspace Strategy
Final Documents:

To Be Confirmed  

Consultation Documents:

 –  Consultation and Stakeholder Engagement    

Draft Future Airspace Strategy Document

FAS Stakeholder Presentation – RAeS    

Airspace for Tomorrow 1    

Airspace for Tomorrow 2

Contact Details: 

Comments to be returned by post to:    

Policy Coordinator

Directorate of Airspace Policy

CAA House

45-59 Kingsway



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