Head in the Clouds: UK’s CAA Updates Airspace Strategy

Head in the Clouds: UK’s CAA Updates Airspace Strategy

DALLAS – The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has unveiled its vision for the future of UK airspace to ensure that the system is fit for purpose moving forward. 

With its updated Airspace Modernisation Strategy, the CAA hopes that the new processes will ‘help deliver quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys, as well as create more capacity for the benefit for those who use and are affected by UK airspace.’

The new strategy has been worked on for over a year. Photo: British School of Aviation.

Outdated System

UK airspace has remained unchanged for decades, despite a massive increase in the amount of traffic using it. The CAA has been working with the Department for Transport, airports, airlines, general aviation, innovators and local community groups over the past year to deliver the refreshed strategy. 

It will consider the latest developments in aviation innovation and technology and accommodate the new aircraft types that are being introduced, such as electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxis, spacecraft and drones. 

The refreshed Airspace Modernisation Strategy includes measures:

  • To maintain and, where possible, improve the UK’s high levels of aviation safety;
  • To aim for simpler airspace design and supporting regulations;
  • To introduce environmental sustainability as an overarching principle to be applied through all modernisation activities, taking account of the latest government policy and environmental guidance;
  • To meet the UK’s international obligations, aligning delivery of the strategy with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Global Air Navigation Plan and ensuring interoperability of the UK network with our neighbours; and
  • To provide a clear strategic path for regulatory policy and requirements now that the UK has left the EU and the EU Aviation Safety Agency.
Photo: Christian Winter/Airways.

Airspace Modernization

Tim Johnson, Director for Strategy and Policy at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said, “The strategic vision set out in our refreshed strategy gives us a direction of travel that guides airspace modernisation. It will help make our airspace more environmentally friendly and sustainable, and deliver the many benefits of airspace modernization.

“Alongside existing users of airspace like commercial air transport, business aviation, recreational flyers and the military, there are new parts of the sector which need to be integrated safely into our existing airspace network. Our strategy enables these different groups to use airspace alongside each other and is a fundamental principle of the strategy.”

According to the CAA, the modernization will allow airlines to increase flight capacity, reduce delays and enhance global connections. This, in turn, will boost the UK economy, improve safety standards and be more environmentally friendly.

Featured Image: London airspace is one of the most congested in the world. Photo: Iain Marshall/Airways.

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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