• The Airspace Modernisation Support Fund (ASF) follows on from the Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) Facilitation Fund and is there to provide financial support to UK aviation industry and stakeholders in modernising the UK airspace, in line with the intent in CAP 1711; the Airspace Modernisation Strategy.

    The AMS Support Fund (ASF) is intended to aid projects in support of the delivery of airspace modernisation where delivery benefits multiple stakeholders and or research will enable wider industry deployment. It provides the opportunity for recognised UK legal entities, other than NERL and CAA, to seek financial support to deliver against the AMS initiatives that cannot be funded by other means. Legal entities must be UK aviation industry engaged in modernising UK airspace. The ASF is open to UK aviation industry organisations excluding NATS En-route Ltd (NERL) and the CAA; if required, either NERL or the CAA can be subcontracted by another organisation to provide services to a project. 
    The fund is allocated to projects that support the delivery of initiatives defined in the AMS and therefore funding proposals must align with the overall AMS objectives. The current set of initiatives in the AMS are broad in their description and will evolve with further iterations of the strategy. The initiatives may not cover every example of work related to airspace modernisation, but the proposals’ ambitions should support the ends (the outcomes) a modernised airspace must deliver, as described in the AMS. 

    The CAA will only commit funds to projects based on the monies collected to date. On this basis, the process of allocating funds will be based on bi-annual calls for project proposals.

  • In the beginning, we ask any relevant funding proposal to come forward for consideration following a call rather than to restrict invitations for proposals on one specific AMS initiative. Depending on the implications of NR23 and the continuation of the fund, this “open”, non-prescriptive, call will be prepared by the CAA bi-annually and provides an opportunity for a wide range of organisations to come forward with proposals. However, although the theme of the call won't be explicit, any proposal must align with the AMS initiatives. 

    In accordance with a new governance process, each proposer is responsible for engaging with and gathering support from relevant industry stakeholders prior to submission of their proposal to the CAA. The proposer needs to present an evidence-based business case to the ASF Advisory Board, highlighting its relevance to (one of) the AMS initiatives. For example, addressing a gap in funding for research and development studies or delivering on elements of enabling works to improve the benefits delivered by a specific AMS initiative. The ASF Advisory Board will review and give feedback on the proposal prior to submission to the ASF Decision Board. The Decision Board consist of the AMS Assurance Group members as well as airline representatives.

    The new process can be split into three stages, with a different entity responsible for leading the process at each stage. 

    • Stage 1: Funding Proposal development - The proposer in close co-operation with the ASF Advisory Board
    • Stage 2: Funding decisions - The ASF Decision Board
    • Stage 3: Post funding decision oversight - CAA Airspace Modernisation Team

    An overview of the process can be found in a diagram

    The CAA AMO Team will function as the ASF Advisory Board, together with one or two CAA technical specialists. The Advisory Board will assess the funding proposal in accordance with the assessment criteria set out in the Terms of Reference before they advise the ASF Decision Board on its contribution to and alignment with the AMS objectives and make a recommendation on the prioritisation of the proposal. They will consider if the proposer has engaged with relevant industry stakeholders and look at the overall completeness and quality of the proposal before it is submitted to the Decision Board. 
    It is not the responsibility of the ASF Advisory Board to approve funding for proposals.  They will come together bi-annually to discuss funding proposals that have been put forward following CAA's calls, and will provide the initial review of the proposals to ensure they meet the requirements set out below. The Advisory Board can also assist the proposer with their business case by offering advice and feedback to assist in improving their submission and work with them on further iterations before submission to the Decision Board.  

    Once the Advisory Board has decided that a proposal is worth pursuing based on the proposal requirements, a final submission will be sent to the Decision Board three weeks prior to the Decision Board meeting to make funding decisions. 

    The Chair of the ASF Advisory Board (Head of AMO) will brief the Chair of the ASF Decision Board on the funding proposals to be considered by the Board and decide if any proposal requires a presentation from the proposer

    The role of the Decision Board is to act as an objective and independent decision-maker to provide advice to the Chair of the group on the approval or rejection of proposals to the ASF. It is proposed that CAA's internal AMS Assurance Group  takes on the role of the ASF Decision Board, including airline representatives. The AMS Assurance Group is an internal cross CAA AMS Technical Policy and Regulation group which is established to help coordinate, prioritise and monitor against AMS initiatives where the CAA has a prime task to enable the deployments.

    The ASF Decision Board will meet bi-annually, to discuss and decide whether to approve or reject proposals, as part of CAA's Assurance Group meeting agendas. 

    Airline representatives, who will also be part of the ASF Decision Board, will be invited to participate in the discussions on the ASF funding allocations when the AMS Assurance Board meeting agenda requires it. They can join physically or virtually, whichever is preferred.

    In making decisions to allocate funds to projects, the ASF Decision Board will take into account the assessment criteria set out in the Terms of Reference. It will take due consideration of the Advisory Board's views, and may discuss the proposal with the applicants directly to seek further clarification where needed. The ASF Decision Board will raise any concerns and highlight any conflict of interest that may be identified, in accordance with guidelines set out in the Terms of Reference.

    The ASF is open to UK aviation industry organisations excluding NATS En-route Ltd (NERL) and the CAA; either NERL or the CAA can be subcontracted by another organisation to provide services to a project. 

    The process of allocating funds will be based on bi-annual calls for project proposals, which is coordinated and led by the CAA. In the first instance, we ask any relevant funding proposal to come forward for consideration following a call, as long as it is aligned with the AMS initiatives. 

    Applicants will have to complete a Funding Proposal Application Form for submission to the CAA. Completed applications must be sent to airspace.modernisation@caa.co.uk 

    Three months will be given for proposals to be submitted, and one month for the Advisory Board to review and provide any feedback to the proposer. The Decision Board meeting will be held within four weeks after the Advisory Board has submitted its review, to make funding decisions, i.e. two months will be given to review applications and reach a decision on them. Notification on the funding decisions made will be sent to all applicants via email, and successful applications will be announced on the CAA website afterwards.