If someone, usually an airport or air traffic control provider (the 'change sponsor'), wants to
request a permanent change to UK airspace design, they must submit an
airspace change proposal to the CAA. Any such proposal will go through our
airspace change process, which requires a series of stages to be
completed before it is submitted to us for a decision.
In 2015, we started reviewing our process and after nearly three years of detailed work and two public consultations, on 13 December 2017 we launched our new process. This process is effective from January 2018. Detailed guidance about the airspace change process and how to follow it is available in our document - Airspace Design: guidance on the regulatory process for changing airspace design including community engagement requirements (CAP1616). This document also includes guidance on the information the aviation industry should publish to help communities understand noise changes.
Our new process is designed to be fair, transparent, comprehensible and proportionate. The detailed requirements of the process and the date it will come into effect are aligned with the outcome of the Government's 2017 consultation on airspace and noise policy. Read about the Government's policy. Airspace change options are assessed using WebTAG, a series of guides and spreadsheet tools. The Department for Transport have published guidance explaining what WebTAG if and how it can be used to assess noise impacts.
Decisions being developed under the new CAP 1616 process and those continuing under the old CAP 725 process can be found on their respective pages.
The following documents set out how the process will work:
On 31 March 2017 we published revised guidance material on the new process for consultation. This will replace our old process document, CAP 725. View our consultation and responses we received (consultation now closed). Our detailed analysis of all of the responses and recommendations we received is available in our report Outcome of the CAA consultation on draft airspace design guidance (CAP 1615).
The consultation documentation comprised the draft guidance document itself, a draft environmental technical annex to the guidance, a separate document about a new category of airspace change (known as 'Tier 2') which the Government discussed in its consultation, and a pdf version of the CAA's consultation document and questions.
Our 2017 consultation on the guidance material followed a consultation we held in 2016 on the principles of the new process and an independent review conducted by consultants Helios in 2015.
See the Related
Information below for older information about why we decided to change the
Information about arrangements for transitioning to the new
process is available on the transitioning process page on our website.
We have produced a number of policy statements which include technical guidance and information on the process to be followed for certain types of airspace change. The technical information remains valid and should continue to be followed. However, following the publication of the new airspace change process, some process information (that which relates solely to the airspace change process and how it should be followed) in these policy statements is no longer valid and should be disregarded. Please contact the CAA for further information. The guidance on our airspace change process and how it applies to any request for a change to airspace design is now all located in one place: in CAP 1616. In due course we will complete a full review of these policy statements and update them to reflect the new process.
Airspace and changes to airspace design
Infographic on how airspace works and who is involved
The legislative framework for airspace change
Commons Transport Select Committee Airspace management and modernisation inquiry
CAP 1356 - an independent study commissioned from management and technology consultants Helios (November 2015)
CAP 1389 - our consultation about how we proposed to change the process, based on Helios recommendations (March 2016)
CAP 1465 - our consultation response document setting out what we decided in the light of responses (October 2016)
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