Airspace modernisation is fundamental to making sure the skies – a key piece of the UK’s infrastructure – are fit for purpose.
At the UK Civil Aviation Authority, we recently set out our vision for the delivery of quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys, as well as more capacity for the benefit of everyone who uses and is affected by airspace across the country.
Extending focus to 2040
The refreshed Airspace Modernisation Strategy extends our focus out to 2040 and widens its scope and puts four key objectives at its heart: safety, integration of diverse users, simplification, and environmental sustainability.
Our Strategy sets out how the aviation industry can deliver in modernising airspace through nine ‘elements’ that will modernise the design, technology, and operations of UK airspace.
As part of our Strategy, we administer a fund called the Airspace Modernisation Strategy Support Fund.
The scheme is funded through the UK State overflight charging mechanism (en-route unit rate) for commercial air transport. This provides an opportunity for organisations to seek financial support and deliver against the Airspace Modernisation Strategy elements.
So far, we’ve approved seven projects through the scheme, from aircraft noise to digitisation of flight data.
We’ve recently approved two more exciting new projects which we feel will really support the aims of the airspace modernisation:
Fair and equitable distribution of aircraft noise - community research sponsored by Gatwick Airport
- By working with communities affected by aircraft noise, this research aims to gain information to feed into future airspace changes. The project aims to define a set of metrics of the impact, to give it a value that can be used when a new airspace change application is being progressed, thus environmental impacts are reduced overall.
Masterplan cumulative impact assessment and trade-off analysis sponsored by Glasgow and Edinburgh airports
- This project focuses on how one airspace change, affects another. This is to develop a methodology tackling cumulative impacts and trade-offs using robust and practical approaches. It can be shared with the sponsors of other potential airspace changes to speed up delivery, minimise duplications of effort and divergent methods and reduce chance of failure in the regulatory process.
Next call for proposals
Our next call for proposals for the Airspace Modernisation Support Fund opened on the 1 March 2023 and will conclude on the 31 March 2023.
We would encourage any organisation in the UK aviation industry actively engaged in modernising UK airspace to consider applying to access funding that may not be available elsewhere, and to help the aviation industry in moving forward with our ambitions to modernise our airspace .
Submissions for the Airspace Modernisation Strategy Support Fund must align with one or more of the strategy’s elements. For more information and to apply, please visit Airspace Modernisation Strategy Support Fund | Civil Aviation Authority (caa.co.uk)
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