• The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today publishes its draft procedure for reviewing the classification of areas of airspace
  • It is now inviting stakeholders to provide their feedback on the draft procedure
  • This consultation is the next major milestone for the introduction of the new procedure on 1 December 2020
  • It follows the exercise in December last year where the CAA invited stakeholders to provide their suggestions on areas of airspace it should consider for reclassification. A summary of the responses the CAA received has also been published today.

Today, the CAA launches a 12-week consultation on its draft procedure for reviewing the classification of airspace.

On 1 December 2020 we will introduce a new procedure that will allow us to review and, where appropriate, amend the classification of areas of airspace. The classification determines the flight rules that apply in that airspace and the procedures that must be followed.

The airspace classification procedure will help us ensure that the amount of controlled airspace is the minimum required to maintain a high standard of safety, and that the needs of all airspace users are reflected on an equitable basis.

Stakeholders will be free to submit information about access concerns for any piece of airspace at any time. We will then use the information submitted to us when we consider holding a review, normally every two years, to allow for coordinated changes. The proposed procedure will have three stages:

  • Consider - where we decide whether to launch a review based on a number of criteria including international obligations, the potential benefits a review might help to deliver, and our workload and resources
  • Review - where we use data, including continuous monitoring of airspace safety, access or utilisation issues, to draw up a draft list of airspace where a case could be made for amending the classification, and then consult airspace users on that plan
  • Amend - where the CAA, for the first time, takes on the role of designing and proposing amendments to airspace, with essential input from the controlling authority for the airspace concerned, and then consults those affected by the final proposals.

This periodic plan for amending airspace classifications will be adopted as part of our Airspace Modernisation Strategy.

The review is based on our continuous monitoring of appropriate technical intelligence that we collect on an ongoing basis from a variety of sources. This will include a relaunched online CAA Use of UK airspace report that enables airspace users to tell us about any airspace access or utilisation concerns, including refusals to allow crossing of controlled or managed airspace.

Last December the CAA commenced a first review of airspace classification in parallel with developing this new procedure by asking stakeholders to suggest specific airspace that we could consider for amendment once the new procedure was in place. We have today also published a summary of the responses to this first review.

Tim Johnson, Policy Director at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “We are committed to making sure that the amount of controlled airspace here in the UK is the minimum required to maintain a high standard of safety, while ensuring the needs of all airspace users are reflected on an equitable basis.

“This consultation is an opportunity for people to help shape how the CAA will carry out our entirely new role in reclassifying airspace, which was given to us by the Secretary of State, so it is really important that as many people as possible take part. We look forward to hearing your views.”

Notes to Editors

  • The consultation is now open for feedback using the CAA's dedicated consultation website: https://consultations.caa.co.uk/ The deadline for responding is 11.59pm on 17 September 2020.
  • The summary of responses from last December's exercise can be found here: www.caa.co.uk/cap1935

 For any queries please contact airspace.modernisation@caa.co.uk

 CAA Press Office

  Press.office@caa.co.uk