Airspace classification draft findings on Cotswold Region

Closed 27 Mar 2022

Opened 31 Jan 2022

Feedback updated 22 Aug 2022

We asked

The CAA undertook a detailed review of airspace usage and classification within the Cotswold Region under its new airspace classification review procedure (CAP 1991). Our Draft Findings Report summarised the activity undertaken to scrutinise airspace usage within the Cotswold Region. It set out the engagement feedback we received from our stakeholders, the findings from  the conversations we held with airspace control authorities, and demonstrated how we used our own detailed analysis combined with the insight from our engagement to inform our draft findings into the region. The report included our initial plan of volumes where a case could be made for a proposed amendment to airspace, as well as our other findings and recommendations where alternative solutions may be more appropriate.

We asked whether we had missed, misunderstood, or misrepresented anything in our report into the Cotswold Region. We also asked whether Areas of Intense Air Activity (AIAAs) should remain.

You said

22 responses were received which we have published where we had permission to do so.

Half of the responses to the “Have we missed anything” question agreed that the report had not missed, misunderstood or misrepresented anything. The remaining respondees provided additional feedback either on the findings or on the process used to gather them.

The majority of the feedback made suggestions as to how charting could be improved to aid airspace use by all users, for example it was proposed that permanent and ‘activated by NOTAM’ ATZs could be marked differently. Respondents also expressed interest in being able to get earlier and clearer notifications when military airspace volume is activated. Some also questioned the current structure of Class A airspace and questioned whether it was feasible to raise the base level of less utilised Cotswold CTAs. Finally, we received some positive comments on the depth of analysis and the use of our Airspace Analyser tool to corroborate our findings, although some also questioned the potential limitations of the tool and our methodology.

In response to our question on the usefulness of AIAAs, the majority of the respondents agreed that they provided no use for pilots and increased chart clutter. Six respondents answered “Don’t know” and a few suggested they should only remain in some of the current areas. Only three responses stated AIAAs are useful for flight planning if they are current and not excessive.

We did

We reviewed each response received and considered whether and how the views impacted our findings. Any updates to our report informed by the feedback received are set out within the report.

The CAA is already working with NERL on its VFR Charting Review. We will hand over the insight we have received in relation to AIAAs to inform this work. We will also pass on relevant insight to the MoD to inform their review of airspace needs and will follow up in both instances to understand how our insight has informed these reviews.

Our Final Report contains our final findings regarding airspace use in the Cotswold Region, including our final plan of volumes to take forward to the amend phase of the CAP 1991 process.

Published responses

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


The UK Civil Aviation Authority has produced a report containing its draft findings of its review into the Cotswold Region. The report contains the initial plan of volumes to take forward to the amend phase on which we are now seeking your views.  

We decided in April 2021 to adopt a regional approach to our airspace classification review procedure to enable a more considered analysis of current usage. The Cotswold Region (an area based around the Cotswold Altimeter Setting Region) was the first area chosen to review under this new procedure. 

Our report sets out a comprehensive picture of our findings to date into the airspace usage within this region, informed by our engagement with stakeholders. This includes an overview of the different airspace control authorities operating within the region, such as commercial airports, regional airfields and military, as well as the type and scale of aviation activity by the broad range of user groups and an overview of existing airspace change activity in the region.  

The report contains the initial plan of volumes which we propose to take forward to the amend stage of this procedure, including an overview of how we have identified these volumes and the rationale for any volumes proposed which are not being taken forward to the amend phase. 

The report also sets out our more generic findings and associated recommendations relating to airspace classification and usage in the Cotswold Region focussed around a theme of pilot and controller education, which may have a broader application to UK airspace and which, if adopted, may lead to a more efficient use of airspace across the UK. 

Why we are asking for feedback

We would like your feedback on our findings within our report and on the volumes proposed as part of our Initial Plan.  We want to ensure we haven’t missed, misunderstood or misinterpreted any of the feedback given. 

This information will be used to inform our final report into the Cotswold Region and which will contain the Final Plan of airspace volumes we take forward to the amend stage of the procedure, as well as our approach to our other recommendations. 

Please note we are looking for feedback on the rationale used in deciding on the volumes contained within the Initial Plan and our other recommendations.  We are not looking for views on the merits of the policy itself, which is a matter for the Government. Nor are we inviting further suggestions for volumes of airspace, or regions to investigate at this time. 

What happens next

Your views will be considered as part of the finalising our plan of volumes to be taken forward to the Amend stage of the process, and ultimately may influence any volume proposed for amendment.


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