• The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today asked for views on draft guidance that sets out how the airspace change process will work, including when and how affected communities must be consulted and how decisions will be made
  • The new approach is designed to make sure future decisions about airspace changes are fair, transparent, evidence-based and proportionate

The new airspace change process was developed following consultation with the aviation industry, local communities and airspace users. All parties are being urged to have their say on the draft guidance to help enhance the way information on proposed changes is provided and how decisions on those proposals are made in the future.

The guidance published today defines what will happen at each of the seven stages of the new process for permanent changes to the design and routes in UK airspace - from initial objectives and principles, right through to post-implementation review. It sets out detail for what a sponsor of an airspace change (the airport or other body requesting it) must complete at each stage; the stakeholders they must engage at each stage and the CAA's expectations of that engagement. The guidance also covers how the CAA assesses the proposed change before making its decision.

This approach aims to bring greater transparency to the airspace change process, so those affected by potential changes have access to transparent, user-friendly information and are engaged fully by airspace change sponsors during the process.

Tim Johnson, Policy Director at the CAA, said:

"We recognise airspace changes can have a significant impact on local communities and other airspace users, and that some of the proposed impacts are understandably unwelcome. We want to make sure that during the decision-making process, all those affected by a potential airspace change have access to transparent information and are engaged meaningfully in the process so they can have their say.  Although not all decisions will be universally welcomed, we want to ensure that everyone involved has confidence in the process and that their concerns have been heard. 

"The views of local communities, airspace change sponsors and airspace users are all vital to shaping the way decisions are made in the future and we urge all groups to have their say on the guidance we have published."

The guidance applies to how future airspace change proposals should be carried out, rather than those currently being assessed.

Anyone can view and comment on the proposed guidance for the new airspace change decision-making process at https://consultations.caa.co.uk/policy-development/draft-airspace-design-guidance. The deadline for consultation responses is 30 June 2017.

For media enquiries please call the CAA press office on 020 7453 6030 or email press.office@caa.co.uk. You can follow the CAA on Twitter @UK_CAA.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

  • In March 2016 the CAA consulted on the principles of a proposed new process. In October 2016 the CAA published its report on that consultation and set out the new process (available online at www.caa.co.uk/CAP1465.)
  • The design of controlled airspace is set out in the UK's Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). The CAA makes decisions about whether that published design can change, and makes those decisions in accordance with the legal and policy framework set by Government.
  • In addition to the CAA's decision-making role on the published design of airspace, the Government is currently consulting on policy proposals that would give the CAA a role on other types of changes to airspace (Reforming policy on the design and use of UK airspace, available at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reforming-policy-on-the-design-and-use-of-uk-airspace).