Prohibition of Supersonic, Transonic and Hypersonic Flight over land

Closed 7 Feb 2024

Opened 3 Jan 2024


The existing Rules of the Air Regulations (UK Reg (EU) No 923/2012) permit, by omission, instrument flight rules (IFR) flights to be undertaken at supersonic and hypersonic speeds over land, and the environmental implications on the ground (due to the effects of sonic booms) of such flights are potentially significant.  Consequently, we propose to amend to UK Reg (EU) No 923/2012 to prohibit supersonic IFR flight over land unless approved by the competent authority.  

Additionally, we propose to amend SERA.5005 Visual Flight Rules (VFR) to include the prohibition of hypersonic flight over land (transonic and supersonic flight over land are already prohibited by the current rules).  This aligns the rules for both IFR and VFR flights over land.

Post Concorde, there have been no commercial aircraft capable of hypersonic or supersonic flight; this has resulted in policy in this area not being reviewed due to a lack of requirement. However, with several manufacturers now actively working on the development of new commercial aircraft types that will be capable of supersonic and hypersonic speeds, with a stated desire to commence flights in mid to late 2020s, a review of policy is now necessary.

Flights at hypersonic or supersonic speeds can create an acoustic effect known as a ‘sonic boom.’  This is the manifestation of the shock wave created by the aircraft flying at supersonic or hypersonic speeds and the environmental implications on the ground of such flights are potentially significant. 

The effects of a sonic boom can vary dependent on several factors including, but not limited to, sensitivity of the individual on the ground, weather, surrounding background noise and whether someone is likely to be anticipating a sonic boom.  Without the ability to predict or control these factors, the only way to prevent the impacts of sonic booms is to prohibit flights which have the potential to create such events.

This is intended to be an interim-measure which provides the flexibility to support research and development and the subsequent certification of ‘low-boom’ aircraft through the power afforded to the competent authority to approve such flights, whilst still ensuring the protection of people on the ground.

Why your views matter

It is important to the CAA that the everyone has an opportunity to voice their opinion on matters that could affect them. For this reason we are asking for comments on this proposed amendment document.

We welcome comments from every sector of the community. This includes the general public, government agencies and all sectors of the aviation industry, whether as an aviator, aviation consumer and/or provider of related products and services.

This Consultation

This consultation document relates to the amendments to Rules of the Air Regulations (UK Reg (EU) No 923/2012) SERA.5015 Instrument Flight Rules and SERA.5005 Visual Flight Rules.

How to respond

Responses to this consultation can be submitted by no later than February 7th 2024.

If you wish to provide feedback, please use the online survey.  If you have any queries on how to complete a response to the consultation, please email  This email address is for queries on how to complete a response only, it cannot be used to provide your consultation response and cannot be used for any other queries.

What happens next

At the end of the response period, we will review and publish each comment and submission received.  Your feedback will be used to refine the development of the regulatory changes.


  • Residents affected by aviation
  • Commercial airlines
  • Military
  • Air Navigation Service Providers
  • Industry representative bodies
  • Air traffic control staff
  • National representative organisations or institutes


  • Aircraft noise
  • Flightpaths
  • Airspace design, categorisation and access