These routes move away from old ground-based navigation in order to use more efficient satellite-based systems. This is part of international and national projects to improve airspace infrastructure to deliver a more efficient use of airspace and enable environmental improvements, including fuel and CO2 savings.

Two options (known as Options 5 & 6) were proposed for southbound aircraft and although both options meet the safety and operational requirements set by the CAA, it is Option 6 that has been approved. Detailed analysis and modelling of live trials conducted in 2014-15 revealed that the aircraft noise generated by Option 6 impacts fewer residents. This is also endorsed by feedback from Birmingham's Airport's consultation.

However, as part of this decision, the CAA has also instructed the airport to trial the use of Option 5 for turbo-prop aeroplanes which should move aircraft away from being directly overhead Barston.

The airport is currently undertaking further design work on a northbound departure route, known as Option 4. Once this work has been completed the airport can formally submit the route for approval to the CAA.

Phil Roberts, Head of Airspace, Air Traffic Management & Aerodromes, at the CAA, said: “In making our decision we have considered a number of important safety, operational and environmental factors. We absolutely understand that aircraft noise disturbs many people. As we have done with this decision, 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.”

The full decision is available on the CAA website

Notes to editors

  • UK airspace is a very limited and important part of our national transport infrastructure but the basic structure of the UK's airspace was developed over forty years ago. Since then there have been huge changes, including a hundred fold increase in demand for aviation. Throughout Europe there is a move to simplify and harmonise the way airspace and air traffic control is used through the Single European Sky project. In the UK and Ireland we're meeting those and other issues through the Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), which sets out a plan to modernise airspace by 2020. You can see more information at www.caa.co.uk/fas.
  • More information on UK airspace and how the CAA handles applications for airspace changes is available on the CAA website.
  • The CAA is the UK's aviation regulator. Its activities include: ensuring that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.