Airspace modernisation benefits a wide range of stakeholders in different ways.
More airspace capacity can accommodate new flights and destinations, make existing operations more efficient and encourage new technology and associated infrastructure. This will benefit the UK population by enhancing the UK’s global connections, giving better value and more choice for businesses and individual travellers, and helping to stimulate UK economic growth. Accommodating new types of aerial vehicle like drones can facilitate more effective services to businesses and the general public, as well as to the State through medical flights, search and rescue or law enforcement.
Airspace modernisation will help to reduce aviation’s climate change impacts, contributing to the Government’s Jet Zero Strategy.
There are also benefits to more specific stakeholder groups:
For passengers and businesses reliant on air transport – Modernisation will add capacity to the system through more efficient airspace, address ‘hotspots’ of congestion and improve choice and value for passengers and shippers. Fewer flight delays and service disruptions at short notice will save time and improve the passenger experience through shorter journeys with a more reliable service, while continuing to improve current high safety standards.
For airspace users – The airspace structure is a key determinant of costs, punctuality and environmental performance. More direct and efficient flightpaths will mean lower costs for operators because they will save on fuel and be able to enhance the utilisation of their aircraft. Airspace modernisation is expected to improve access to airspace for General Aviation by enabling greater integration (rather than segregation) of different airspace user groups. The same is true for new or rapidly expanding airspace users, such as remotely piloted aircraft systems, aerial taxis and spacecraft. See our infographic illustrating our vision for a modernised lower airspace in the UK.
For airports and air navigation service providers – The sharing of accurate flight information about traffic using UK airspace is expected to improve runway throughput and resilience to disruption (like adverse weather). Additional airspace capacity gives airports the scope to develop operations in line with their business plans (subject to planning considerations). Enhanced technology combined with updated airspace design enables safe, expeditious and efficient management of increased traffic.
For communities – Airspace modernisation offers some environmental improvements because aircraft can climb sooner, descend more quietly and navigate more accurately around populated areas. In some cases, changed flightpaths could concentrate traffic over a smaller area giving the opportunity to give some communities some respite from noise. This can allow airports to manage aircraft noise better in line with government policy However, it may be that changes in flightpaths or an increase in traffic mean that not every community will benefit. A decision to increase airport capacity through the land-use planning process is outside the responsibility of the Airspace Modernisation Strategy. The CAA’s airspace change process and Government guidance to the CAA ensure that those impacted by changes in flightpaths are properly consulted on any changes proposed.