New procedure for reviewing the classification of airspace launched

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has today launched its new procedure to review the classification of airspace. This procedure will take effect from 1 December 2020.

In October 2019 the Government gave the CAA, as airspace regulator, the function to review airspace classifications and to amend them where appropriate. This new function means that we must regularly consider whether to review the current classifications of airspace, consult airspace users as part of that review, and where we consider a change to classification might be made, amend it in accordance with the new procedure.  The new procedure will have three distinct stages: Consider, Review, and Amend, and you can learn about the key features of each of these stages in our handy summary we have published today with the full procedure document.

Earlier this year we sought your views on our proposals for this procedure and we are today also publishing the outcome of this consultation, explaining how we have taken account of your feedback in the final airspace classification review procedure. The changes made as a result of your feedback include our commitment to a review every two years unless it would be unreasonable for the CAA to do so, in which case we would defer by a maximum of a year. 

We have also incorporated a rationale for prioritising proposals within the two-year plan through a broad assessment of which proposals seem likely to bring the greatest benefits for the minimum change or cost. We set out more clearly how we will be taking continuous stakeholder input, including through the online FCS1522 form UK Airspace Access or Refusal of Air Traffic Services Report and other aviation stakeholder feedback routes.

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

“The new procedure being published today will give the CAA for the first time a mechanism for delivering this outcome, and we look forward to working with stakeholders on its implementation.”

Later in December 2020 we also expect to announce the first volumes of airspace where we will be considering potential amendments to the classification. These have been chosen from those highlighted to us in response to the initial review that we launched in December 2019. A new CAA team dedicated to the review of airspace classification will run the new procedure and start work on those volumes in January 2021.

We will review how the procedure is performing in three years’ time, or earlier if there is change in Government policy.

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