Airports and air traffic control organisations sometimes carry out short-term trials to gather data and validate possible proposals for future requests for changes to the UK airspace structure. The Government’s Air Navigation Directions define an airspace trial as:
a) Changes to airspace design, or air traffic control operational procedures, for the purposes of investigating the feasibility of, or validating proposals for, innovative airspace design, technology or air traffic control operational procedures; or
b) A test of an airspace design or an air traffic control operational practice, in order to assess its performance and effect.
This means that for a short period aircraft may be flying different, or as well as existing routes to the published structure. It is also possible for air traffic control organisations to trial new operational procedures that do not alter the airspace design.
Airspace trials can therefore make a valuable contribution to the effectiveness of the UK airspace network and form a key component of the successful implementation of the Airspace Modernisation Strategy and the Single European Sky.
Any trial will have a fixed start and end date and if, after the trial, the organisation running the trial wishes to make the change permanent then the full airspace change process, including consultation, will be required.
More information on current trials is available on the CAA portal.
How to get involved
If you have comments about a current trial then they should be made to the airport or air traffic control body running it. If any comments are sent to us then we will log these and send them on to the airport or air traffic control body. You can find more information on making an enquiry/complaint about the use of UK airspace and/or the noise impacts of the various types of aircraft operations that take place within it on this page.