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Major consultation launched on improvements to UK airspace change process

PUBLISHED: 15:23 15 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:23 15 March 2016

The CAA has launched a major consultation on how decisions are made on proposed changes to the UK’s airspace structure.

The consultation seeks views from stakeholders, ranging from the aviation industry and general aviation to people affected by aircraft noise, on a series of proposals aimed at making the airspace change process more transparent and giving the CAA a more hands-on role.

The airspace change process

If someone, usually an airport or air traffic control body, wants to request a permanent change to the UK airspace structure they must submit a proposal to the CAA, which goes through their airspace change process.

The CAA is consulting on proposed improvements to this process, which is used to decide whether a change goes ahead. Our suggested changes are supported by an independent review carried out in 2015 by specialist consultants Helios.

The consultation

The consultation therefore details changes to the process a proposal goes through, which includes consultation with local communities, and also how it can be made more transparent.

One of a range of recommendations under consideration to achieve this is an online portal to provide a single access point for anyone to view, comment on and access documents for every UK airspace change proposal. The effectiveness of the process could also be improved by additional stages of scrutiny and validation.

The consultation is not about areas which are outside of the CAA’s airspace change process, such as Government policy, which the CAA’s process must follow. Government policy on issues, such as whether flight paths are concentrated along a narrow path or deliberately dispersed, whether flight paths are alternated to provide periodic respite from noise, and whether tranquil areas are avoided, are not part of the CAA consultation.

The consultation which is open to everyone is available until 15 June 2016 and can be accessed at consultations.caa.co.uk

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