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UK government airspace policy consultation

The UK government is seeking to create a framework for making balanced decisions on the design and use of airspace and airports across the UK. ERA has participated in a workshop to help guide the Department for Transport’s policy for change management.

The UK government’s role is to set the policy framework which governs decisions concerning UK aviation policy and airspace design and is in the process of establishing, by way of a consultation, how best to create a new airspace modernisation program that will best serve the UK’s increasing demand on air travel and therefore traffic, whilst making airports more efficient and at the same time reducing the environmental impact with respect to climate and also residents living beneath flightpaths. This policy framework exercise will be underpinned by the need to provide balance and transparency throughout the process, ensuring that there is consistency in how industry acts as the best neighbour, putting in place the best solutions to manage its impacts.

By taking action now, the UK government hopes to bring real improvements for passengers by reducing delays; for the environment through reduced emissions; and for local communities most affected by aircraft noise by reducing the need for holding and expediting climb segments thus taking advantage of the improved performance of modern aircraft. The aim of the government is also to create greater clarity in decision making and the way noise is managed through improvements in the evidence used to inform how airspace decisions are made, particularly the noise impacts

  • greater focus on industry and communities working together to find ways to manage noise which work best for local circumstances;
  • clarity and consistency in who makes airspace decisions, and why;
  • greater certainty for industry that the airspace change framework provides what they need to deliver beneficial change; and
  • ambitious noise management outside of airspace change, taking advantage of the latest technological developments.

These performance related changes will presumably include SESAR projects whilst harnessing the greater performance capabilities of modern aircraft as mentioned.

As a member of UK NATS Future Airspace Strategy Industry Implementation Group (FASIIG), ERA is playing a part in the process through our participation in a consultation workshop held at the UK CAA Offices on the Kingsway, London on 27 April. The purpose of this workshop was to provide the UK Department for Transport and the UK CAA with industry’s view of the proposed changes to airspace design and to promote the interests of the air navigation service provider and airspace user communities whilst trying to satisfy the government's desire to create as environmentally conscious and noise sensitive airspace infrastructure as possible and simultaneously accommodate more traffic at airports, in Terminal Manoeuvring Areas and all other regulated airspace.

It is of critical importance that our members and the interests of the broader Airspace User Community are taken into account by the UK Department for Transport and therefore, if you have comments please don’t hesitate to provide them to Russell.dudley@eraa.org for inclusion in the FASIIG Consultation Response.