• We have a decision-making role in respect of three categories of change in airspace design: permanent changes to notified (published) airspace design; temporary changes to notified airspace design; and airspace trials.

    Permanent changes to notified airspace design

    Permanent changes to notified airspace design follow the seven stage process outlined in our guidance document CAP 1616 - Airspace Design: Guidance on the regulatory process for changing airspace design including community engagement. These changes are divided into Levels, which are explained on this page.

    Temporary changes to notified airspace design

    A temporary change to notified airspace design usually concerns a period of less than 90 days, except in extraordinary circumstances. Such changes complete stages 1, 3, 4 and 5 of the airspace change process outlined in CAP 1616 prior to implementation. During operation of the temporary change, the CAA receives information about engagement, monitoring and feedback from the change sponsor. Further information is available on pages 88-89 of CAP 1616.

    Airspace trials

    An airspace trial is a trial of airspace design or air traffic control operational procedures which may or may not lead to a proposal for a permanent change. Airspace trials complete stage 1 of the airspace change process outlined in CAP 1616 prior to implementation. During operation of the trial, the CAA receives information about engagement, monitoring and feedback from the trial sponsor. Further information is available on pages 90-92 of CAP 1616.

    Changes caused by alterations to ATC operational procedure (known as PPRs)

    This category comprises changes to air traffic control operational procedures by an air navigation service provider, which causes a planned and permanent redistribution of air traffic without changing the design of notified airspace. We call this ‘PPR’ for short. The Government has given us a new decision-making role for PPR proposals effective 1 February 2020. We recently consulted on what form the decision-making process should take.  

    Operational changes not caused by changes to the design of airspace or procedures for its use

    These changes can result from changes in airline or airport operations due to weather, commercial decisions (such as routes flown or fleet deployment) or changing traffic volumes. They involve noticeable shifts in the distribution of flights or aircraft types being flown over a period of time. We have no direct regulatory role for such changes, but page 96 of CAP 1616 provides best practice guidance on transparency to be followed by change sponsors.

    You can find information published by the 10 biggest UK airports and by NATS here.