Future Airspace Strategy

An overview of the Future Airspace Strategy and links to associated documents


The Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) is a strategic framework that will pull together a complex and diverse set of policy and regulatory issues that will enable judgements to be made that are properly underpinned by cohesive and cogent policy formulation. This will in turn enable air navigation service providers (such as NATS) to create an airspace structure that is fit for the future, effective, efficient and ensures that the UK meets any international obligations that are placed upon it. It is not a detailed implementation plan, although such plans will be driven by the outcome of the FAS work.

The aim of the Future Airspace Strategy is to provide a policy structure to enable a modernised air traffic management system that provides safe, efficient airspace, that has the capacity to meet reasonable demand, balances the needs of all users and mitigates the impact of aviation on the environment.

There are three broad strategic drivers to modernise the UK airspace system and achieve the FAS Vision:

SAFETY: The implementation of a modernised airspace system is driven by the need to continuously improve safety (or at the very least maintain safety levels whilst delivering improvements in other aspects of the system or environmental benefits) in particular in light of the forecast growth in demand for airspace and the expected adoption of new technology and operational concepts across the system.

CAPACITY: It is likely that the pressure on the UK’s airspace system will continue to grow in the long term with a changing profile of demand from different users groups leading to a tightening in the supply and demand balance for airspace. Even if there is only limited growth in air traffic demand, there are already ‘hot spots’ in the airspace today that could be improved by adopting concepts within the FAS thereby making the system safer, more efficient and address environmental concerns.

ENVIRONMENT: The proposals in FAS aim to enable aircraft to fly in more environmentally efficient ways while maximising capacity benefits and improving safety. The environmental impact of air travel both in terms of noise and air quality, and globally in terms of climate change, plays and important role in determining how the UK airspace system should develop.

As work on the development of the FAS has progressed, it has become increasingly clear that the UK needs a strategy that approaches the provision of airspace capacity and efficiency in a way that is sufficiently flexible to enable it to respond to future aviation development, at an acceptable cost, whilst minimising aviation’s impact on the environment. The FAS will facilitate this by signposting the shift to a fundamentally more flexible and integrated airspace system to improve safety, capacity and efficiency. In modernising the UK air traffic management system, it will be necessary to ensure that safety is improved, or is not adversely affected, while at the same time implementing air traffic management procedures that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emission from aircraft and minimising aviation’s impact on the environment more broadly.

View the FAS consultation page 

View the Future Airspace Strategy

View Paper on Class G Airspace for the 21st Century

View Airspace for Tomorrow 3

View Airspace for Tomorrow 2

View Airspace for Tomorrow 1