Draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy

Closed 10 Sep 2018

Opened 19 Jul 2018

Feedback Updated 17 Dec 2018

We Asked

The purpose of this stakeholder engagement exercise was for the CAA to understand your views on our new draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy which will replace our 2011 Future Airspace Strategy (FAS).

The Government has tasked the CAA with preparing and maintaining a co-ordinated strategy and plan for the use of UK airspace for air navigation up to 2040, including for the modernisation of the use of such airspace. The Airspace Modernisation Strategy responds to that requirement and forms part of the Government’s new arrangements to take forward the delivery of the airspace modernisation programme. The strategy sets out the ends, ways and means of modernising airspace.

We invited feedback on the draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy – including its approach and the initiatives it set out as the primary ways to deliver modernisation.

You Said

We had 263 formal responses to the consultation, which we have published where we have permission to do so. Residents affected by aviation made up the majority of respondents. Of the 152 residents who responded, 74 (49%) used identical or very similar text, and mostly answered no to all questions.

Overall, 39% of respondents said that they agreed or mostly agreed with the approach as set out in the draft strategy (question 1), 5% did not answer. Residents affected by aviation were most likely to answer ‘no’, with 83% disagreeing. Members of the General Aviation community mostly agreed with the overall approach, with 90% saying they agreed or mostly agreed.

The second question asked if we had identified the right existing Government policies. Overall, 41% of respondents said that they agreed or mostly agreed compared to 50% who disagreed (9% did not answer).

Question 3 asked if respondents agreed with the 14 initiatives. Members of the General Aviation community had the strongest percentage in favour at 94%. Commercial aviation industry and national representatives were around 75% in favour. Seventy-nine per cent of residents affected by aviation disagreed. Overall, 41% of respondents said that they agreed or mostly agreed with the initiatives; 7% did not answer.

Question 4 asked if there were any gaps in the strategy and only invited free-text answers with no multiple-choice options.

Question 5 asked if respondents agreed with our approach of asking those organisations tasked with delivering the initiatives to set out deployment plans to identify the means (resources) necessary? Seventy-one per cent of members of the General Aviation community agreed with this approach. Commercial aviation industry and national representatives were 58% and 68% in favour respectively. Seventy-four per cent of residents affected by aviation disagreed with our suggested approach. Overall, 37% of respondents said that they agreed, and 12% did not answer.

Question 6 asked if respondents agreed with our approach set out in the draft governance structure which was developed by the Department for Transport, CAA and NATS working together. For this question the commercial aviation industry was the group with the largest percentage in favour at 74%. Seventy-one per cent of members of the General Aviation community were in favour, agreeing or mostly agreeing, whereas 80% of residents disagreed. Overall, 35% of respondents said that they agreed, and 8% did not answer.

Free text boxes on each question allowed respondents to give their reasoning and explain how the draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy could be improved.

The draft objective for modernisation and the proposed governance structure received the most attention. In terms of the draft objective for airspace modernisation:

  • residents affected by aviation were more likely to suggest that the focus should be on noise reduction and other environmental and health issues, rather than growth
  • members of the General Aviation community were more likely to express concerns that airspace may become constrained, more complex or would be difficult to influence
  • other respondents urged that the objective would need to carefully consider the trade-offs between a range of different issues.

In relation to governance issues raised, we recorded four different sentiments:

  • residents affected by aviation and government bodies (i.e. local authorities or parish councils) were more likely to suggest that community groups should be involved in the governance structure
  • the General Aviation community was more likely to suggest that they should be more involved in the governance structure
  • the commercial aviation industry and national representative organisations were more likely to suggest that industry should be involved at the top of the governance structure.
  • a mix of different stakeholders with different reasons wanted the Government and/or the CAA to hold industry to account more in delivery.

Funding and resourcing issues were mainly raised by the commercial aviation industry, the majority either suggesting that the Government should fund the modernisation programme or that those that were funding it should be more involved in the governance structure.

Smaller organisations were concerned that they would not have the resources to participate fully or influence change. Some suggested that the CAA needed to increase its resourcing.

Often raised in relation to the governance structure was the issue of vested interests, and the need for independent oversight or independent programme management.

In terms of technology, the specific points raised were mostly in relation to satellite-based navigation, drones and electronic conspicuity. Commercial aviation industry generally advocated the use of technology to improve efficiency, whereas residents were concerned about the concentration of flightpaths that could occur or had resulted from previous trials.

We Did

We have gone into more detail as to what respondents said and our responses to specific issues in our stakeholder engagement response document CAP 1710 Outcome of CAA stakeholder engagement on draft airspace modernisation strategy.

Some of the feedback received related to areas that we could not materially change in the strategy, for example relating to existing government policy or a dissatisfaction with the CAA or aviation industry in general.

However, the following areas, which attracted the most attention, have been updated:

  • the CAA and Department for Transport have redrafted the joint objective for airspace modernisation
  • the Airspace Modernisation Strategy includes new sections on the governance structure with more detail on the CAA and Department for Transport’s role as co-sponsors, the Delivery Coordination Function and clarification of the governance architecture (CAP 1711b Governance Annex to CAP 1711)
  • the Initiatives have been expanded to ensure air traffic management improvements have been captured, and a number of clarifications have been made in response to specific feedback
  • the requirements for a design masterplan have been modified and stated in more detail.

The updated Airspace Modernisation Strategy has now been published as required by the Secretary of State by the end of 2018: CAP 1711 Airspace Modernisation Strategy

For more information or clarification on the Airspace Modernisation Strategy please contact airspacemodernisation@caa.co.uk.  

Results Updated 17 Dec 2018

The updated Airspace Modernisation Strategy has now been published: CAP 1711 Airspace Modernisation Strategy

Published Responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

The CAA has received in excess of 260 submissions to its public invitation for responses to the draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy that was published on 19 July 2018.  We are no longer accepting responses, but we welcome and value the contributions that have been submitted by stakeholders.  

Responses, where we have consent to publish, can be viewed by following:

  • the link at the top of this page 'Published Responses' for online responses received through this website.  
  • the links at the foot of this page under 'Related Documents' for offline responses that supplement an online response received through this website.

The Government’s Air Navigation Directions 2017 require us to present a delivery report and strategy to the Secretary of State in December. 

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What are we asking?

The purpose of this stakeholder engagement exercise is for the CAA to understand your views on our new draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy which will replace our 2011 Future Airspace Strategy (FAS).

This comprises a draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy document and six questions (See 'Related' documents below). A transcript of this summary and the questions is also provided for reference.

Why is airspace modernisation needed?

Airspace is a crucial part of the UK’s infrastructure. It must be maintained and enhanced to provide more choice and value for consumers, through the capacity for airlines to add new flights, reduced flight delays and enhanced global connections that can help boost the UK economy, while continuing to improve safety standards.

In addition to accommodating increasing commercial flights, Military requirements and an active GA sector, the UK’s skies are hosting different types of airborne vehicles such as drones. UK airspace will also need to accommodate commercial spaceflight in the future, and other new technologies are constantly emerging.

What is the objective for modernising airspace?

Working together, the Government and the CAA have developed a shared objective for modernising airspace. This objective states that modernising airspace means changing and developing its structural design, and the operational concepts and technology that are used to fly and manage air traffic.

It states that we want to ensure that airspace capacity is not a constraint on the growth of commercial aviation, with the constraint to growth instead becoming the number of runways or restrictions imposed on the use of those runways by government or planning authorities as a condition of that growth.

Our approach in undertaking this programme is to be transparent, inclusive, and to take into account the needs and views of all airspace users and affected parties, including airports, airlines, communities and General Aviation representatives.

Why have we written a new Airspace Modernisation Strategy?

The Government has tasked the CAA with preparing and maintaining a co-ordinated strategy and plan for the use of UK airspace for air navigation up to 2040, including for the modernisation of the use of such airspace.

The Airspace Modernisation Strategy responds to that requirement. It supersedes and replaces the Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), although many key elements of FAS remain relevant and are included in this new strategy. The new Airspace Modernisation Strategy also needs to take into account:

  • a new runway at Heathrow: outlined in the current National Policy Statement
  • the need to coordinate multiple different airspace changes
  • potential changes arising from government policy reviews, such as more explicit policy on how noise must be considered
  • drones
  • spaceplanes.

The CAA must consult the Secretary of State about the preparation and maintenance of this Airspace Modernisation Strategy and the detail to be included in the delivery plan, and must give a delivery report to the Secretary of State annually.

Our draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy

This draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy forms part of the Government’s new arrangements to take forward the delivery of the airspace modernisation programme. The strategy sets out the ends, ways and means of modernising airspace.

Chapter 1 introduces the need for airspace modernisation and describes its objective, and the approach taken in this strategy.

Chapter 2 sets out the role of the Department for Transport, the CAA, NATS and other relevant stakeholders.

Chapter 3 sets out the ends, or outcomes, that modernised airspace must deliver, all of which are derived from UK and international policies and laws.

In Chapter 4, 14 initiatives are identified as the primary ways of modernising airspace, including new airspace designs, operational procedures and enabling technologies.

Chapter 5 identifies that there are a number of current foreseeable ‘unknowns’ that could change and reshape the context for this strategy.

The means of delivering airspace modernisation – such as the resources needed to bring in changes – must rest with the industry organisations that will use airspace. The need for these plans is addressed in Chapter 6.

In Chapter 7 we set out our assessment of progress towards completion of each major initiative and the supporting designs, operational procedures and technology enablers.

Your views are invited

The CAA is publishing this draft for public engagement so that any interested stakeholders can offer feedback on the document – including its approach and the initiatives it sets out as the primary ways to deliver modernisation – before it is finalised and delivered to the Secretary of State in December 2018. In future years the strategy may be revised, but the CAA will not always publish a full draft document for engagement.

We are asking you to respond to six questions and provide comments before 10 September 2018. We cannot commit to taking into account comments received after this date.

The questions include some multiple-choice answers and the opportunity to submit your comments by completing text boxes. Please note that if you prefer not to give a multiple-choice answer, the questionnaire will still allow you to complete the text box. We understand that some stakeholders may prefer not to be constrained by the questions alone. We have therefore also included a text box for general observations not covered by the questions.

If you would like to discuss anything about how to respond, please email: airspacemodernisation@caa.co.uk or telephone: 0207 453 6278.

We will assume that all responses can be published on our website. When you complete the online form there will be an option for you:

•     to hide your identity including personal details (which will anonymise your response completely), or

•     to refuse publication altogether; in the interests of transparency, we hope people will not refuse publication.

What happens next?

Your comments will help us to set out a comprehensible and engaging strategy for developing and delivering our shared airspace modernisation objective, and enable the CAA to report on it to the Secretary of State.

This stakeholder engagement exercise will be open until 10 September 2018. We will then review the responses received, and will take on board feedback where it is considered appropriate.

The finalised Airspace Modernisation Strategy will be published at the end of the year alongside an annual delivery report for the Secretary of State. At this time we will also update this site with a summary of what we asked, what you said and what we did in response, and will also publish responses where we have consent to do so.

What Happens Next

The CAA has received in excess of 260 submissions to its public invitation for responses to the draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy that was published on 19 July 2018.  We are no longer accepting responses, but we welcome and value the contributions that have been submitted by stakeholders.

The Government’s Air Navigation Directions 2017 require us to present a delivery report and strategy to the Secretary of State in December. 

Audiences

  • Residents affected by aviation
  • Organisations affected by aviation
  • Community groups
  • Airline passenger
  • General Aviation
  • Commercial airlines
  • UAV operators
  • Air taxi operators
  • Military
  • Airport operators
  • Air Navigation Service Providers
  • Industry representative bodies
  • Eurocontrol
  • Air traffic control staff
  • Aerodrome Operators
  • Government departments
  • Regulatory bodies
  • Elected political representatives
  • European Aviation Safety Agency
  • European Commission
  • International Civil Aviation Organization
  • National representative organisations or institutes
  • Workers' representative bodies

Interests

  • Aircraft noise
  • Aircraft emissions
  • Local air quality
  • Flightpaths
  • Airspace design, categorisation and access
  • Airspace change proposals
  • Airspace investment
  • Economic regulation
  • Capacity
  • Economic regulation
  • Punctuality
  • Safety