• The development of more complex airspace change proposals can last for several years, so there will be some which are in progress when we introduce the new process. We recognise therefore that we need to give all stakeholders clear guidance on arrangements for transitioning to the new process and plenty of notice of any additional requirements that they may need to meet.

    We do not yet have a date for introducing the new process, but we expect it to be in early 2018. 

    Once the Government has announced the outcome of its own recent airspace policy consultation and has published any new policy, guidance and directions to the CAA, we will know how our own process is affected. We can then publish revised guidance governing the airspace change process. This will replace the current guidance known as CAP 725. We have recently consulted on this revised guidance.

    View our consultation and responses we received.

    CAA transition arrangements

    We have previously consulted on how we will deal with airspace change proposals which are already part way through the airspace change process when the new process takes effect. The outcome of that consultation was that:

    • any proposal where formal consultation has yet to commence by the time the new process takes effect (and which therefore corresponds to Stage 1, Stage 2 or Steps 3A/3B of Stage 3 in the new process) should adhere to the new process from the date that the new process takes effect, to the extent that this is feasible and reasonable, and
    • we will not mandate new elements of the new process for any proposal should formal consultation already have commenced by the time the new process takes effect (and is therefore at Step 3C in the new process or later).

    Change sponsors should therefore now be considering what additional action may be required to align any proposals with the new process. We will discuss individual cases with the change sponsor concerned and publish any agreed position.

    Where the change sponsor is on the cusp of where we draw the line between the old and new process, we will need to be flexible. Equally, sponsors who start an airspace change proposal before the new process and associated guidance are adopted should demonstrate to us that they have the new process in mind and have taken it into account, even if we are not requiring rigid adherence to the new process until the revised guidance has been published and come into effect.

    We have brought some changes into effect immediately. This follows several major airspace change proposals in the past three years, and an internal review of the way we currently manage airspace change work. These process changes can be characterised as codifying existing best practice so that this is applied consistently. For more information please see Chapter 5 of our consultation response document.

    Government transition arrangements

    Pages 15 and 16 of the Government’s airspace consultation document set out its intention to work closely with the CAA to agree an implementation date and detailed transition arrangements, and, in respect of airspace change, to mirror the CAA’s transition arrangements for implementing the Government’s own proposals:

    “2.25  Many of the proposals within this consultation will require the Government to take steps to implement changes and the CAA to integrate into its policies and procedures. We will therefore work closely with the CAA following the consultation to agree an implementation date and detailed transition arrangements. Where relevant e.g. for airspace change, we would expect to mirror the transition arrangements set out by the CAA in its recent consultation on the Airspace Change Process: any change proposal which has yet to be consulted on before the introduction of the revised process should adhere to the new process from the implementation date.”

    Change sponsors needing further guidance about transition arrangements should contact us at airspace.policy@caa.co.uk.