Airspace Structure

The structure of UK airspace

Although you can’t physically see it, the airspace above our heads is divided into complex structures to enable its many different users – from commercial airliners to military jets and private pilots – to fly safely. The information here is a guide to the roles and responsibilities of the various organisations involved in running the UK’s airspace and the process followed for making changes to its structure.

We have also provided information on current airspace developments that we are involved in and our reviews of changes already implemented.

Some changes need our approval before they can be implemented while others are at the full discretion of airports or air traffic control organisations. In all cases we encourage airports and air traffic control organisations to provide information to local communities on all changes that will have a significant noise impact.

We absolutely understand that aircraft noise disturbs many people. We will continue to consider the environmental impact of all our airspace decisions and have called on the aviation industry and other decision-makers to be much more ambitious in confronting aviation’s environmental challenges. You can read our information on aircraft noise at