Policy for the establishment and operation of Special Use Airspace

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Closes 6 Dec 2023


What is Special Use Airspace?

Special Use Airspace is established to limit the access of some aircraft to specified airspace by establishing Temporary Segregated Areas, Temporary Reserved Areas, Prohibited Areas, Restricted Areas, Danger Areas and Cross Border Areas.

The policy statement provides information on the design, approval, notification, activation, management and operation of Special Use Airspace, while also guiding potential sponsors towards the most appropriate structure to suit their needs.

Special Use Airspace is managed through the airspace management processes set out in CAP 740, UK Airspace Management Policy.

Significant changes

This policy will replace the existing CAA policy for permanently established danger areas and temporarily established danger areas. The most significant change is the addition of other types of existing Special Use Airspace (Temporary Segregated Areas, Temporary Reserved Areas, Prohibited Areas and Restricted Areas). Other changes include: 

  • Increased accountability for operators of Special Use Airspace by introducing the requirement of a nominated ‘Authority’ for every Special Use Airspace structure (similar to the current ‘Danger Area Authority'). 
  • More efficient airspace management through increased activation of Special Use Airspace by NOTAM rather than standard times. For existing Special Use Airspace this will implemented gradually to manage impact to current operations.  
  • An increased number of existing airspace structures may be brought into the scope of Special Use Airspace, improving a clarity to all airspace users.  
  • Changes to the pre-tactical safety buffer requirements for Special Use airspace, resulting in more efficient flight planning for aircraft flying in the ATM Network.  

What we are not engaging on

The policy statement draws on technical content from other documents (for example the ICAO DOC 10088: Manual on Civil-Military Cooperation in Air Traffic Management) over which we have no direct control and as such we are not seeking feedback on directly related content.  

This policy statement does not provide information on how the CAA handles airspace infringements. It simply requires procedures to be in place for the reporting of potential infringements of Special Use Airspace. Further information on airspace infringements can be found on the CAA website.  

We will not take into account elements of responses to this engagement that we consider to be out of scope.