Summer airspace restrictions – pilots urged to double check notams

Date: 06 May 2014

General aviation pilots are being alerted to a series of temporary airspace restrictions in place around sporting and commemorative events in the UK, Ireland and France this summer. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that private pilots should pay particularly close attention to relevant NOTAMs as part of their pre flight planning routine.

At the request of organisers, temporary airspace restrictions, or RA(T)s, are being put in place to cover the UK and Irish stages of the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia bike races. Additionally, security restrictions will be in place for the entire duration of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The French authorities have also announced airspace closures for D-Day commemorations in June. The CAA urges pilots to allow more time for pre flight planning to ensure their flights do not infringe any of these airspace restrictions.

• Beginning in Belfast on 9 May and ending three days later in Dublin, the Giro d’Italia will be subject to a RA(T). The UK portion of the race takes place over three days between 9 and 11 May routing around Belfast City then on a circular route from/to Belfast via Bushmills and the third stage routing from Armagh to Dublin. Generally, the restrictions will extend from surface level to between 2,000ft - 4,000ft. The full details will be published by NOTAM.


• The French Ministry of Defence will be creating Prohibited and Restricted Zones along the Normandy coast between 2 June – 8 June around D-Day commemorative events. More details will be issued shortly.


• The Tour de France, which visits the UK for the first time since 2007, opens in Yorkshire on 5 July before making its way to London over three stages, ending on The Mall on 7 July. The race passes in the vicinity of a number of GA aerodromes en route, including Duxford, Andrewsfield and North Weald. The airspace restrictions will roll with the riders as they progress through each stage, with mini RA(T)s being turned on and off throughout the course of each day. This will keep disruption localised for a minimum amount of time. Generally, the restrictions will extend from surface level to between 4,500ft - 6,000ft. The full Tour de France AIC, with charts, will be published on 15 May 2014, and will be available at www.ais.org.uk


• The Government’s security restrictions for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games begin on 13 July and end on 6 August 2014. A small Prohibited Zone established around the main Games’ venues will exclude all air traffic - apart from commercial passenger operations into and out of Glasgow Airport, as well as helicopters operated by the emergency services and the official broadcaster. This will be surrounded by a larger Restricted Zone (21 July – 3 August), into which GA aircraft can fly providing they have notified the flight with air traffic control at least two hours before take-off. Pilots can do this on two dedicated phone lines. The Restricted Zone will be subject to capacity constraints and so pilots may be required to delay their flight. While in the Zone pilots must remain in constant radio contact with air traffic control and be flying an aircraft equipped with an SSR transponder. See airspacesafety.com/commonwealth for more details.

As well as being available on the official AIS NOTAM website, pre flight planning tools such as SkyDemon and Rocket Route will also have full details of the restrictions.

Follow the Airspace & Safety Initiative on Twitter @airspacesafety

Notes to Editors:

1. ASI is a joint CAA, NATS, AOA, GA and MoD effort to investigate and tackle the major safety risks in UK airspace. www.airspacesafety.com

2. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.