ACP-2017-70   News Item                                                               21st July 2021


Split of London Airspace Modernisation Programme 2 Deployment 1 ACP

The London Airspace Modernisation Programme 2 Deployment 1 (LD1) airspace change proposal (ACP) is the first stage of modernising the UK’s airspace route network above 7,000ft across Wales and southwest England.   LD1 is included in the Future Airspace Strategy Implementation - South (FASI-S) programme of changes and is part of a simpler, safer and more fuel-efficient future for air travel.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic LD1 was intended to be coordinated and implemented simultaneously with ACPs sponsored by Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter Airports.  At that time, discussions were held between NATS and the CAA regarding whether the LD1 ACP, proposing changes to the enroute network, would have an influence on the airports’ low-level route designs.  As this could not be ruled out, it was accepted that the LD1 network ACP would be categorised as a “scaled” Level 1[1]

However, the impact of COVID-19 on air traffic resulted in airports pausing their ACPs for approximately 18 months.  During which time, NATS continued work on LD1 due to the network benefits it can provide to its customers including alignment with the deployment of Free Route Airspace (FRA) in the same area.  This will enable benefits to be maximised and will reduce complexity for stakeholders during the ACP process.  As a result, LD1 has progressed to a more advanced stage than the airports underlying the affected airspace, and a new approach was needed.  This aims to address the risk of delaying airspace modernisation, while maintaining a co-ordinated approach.  There are significant benefits from delivering the upper-level changes as early as possible.  NATS has continued to engage with airports throughout the programme pause, to ensure a good understanding of their requirements. 

In order to allow the ACPs to progress and implement separately, the LAMP 2 LD1 has been split to create two separate ACPs (LAMP 2 LD1.1 and LAMP 2 LD 1.2).  This presented the right balance, giving flexibility to realise the benefits of systemised upper-airspace early, and ensure any network changes needed to accommodate airports’ future design aspirations are also made when they are ready.

The two ACPs are:

1.       London Airspace Modernisation Programme 2 - Deployment 1.1 (Referred to as LD1.1).  A network-only ACP, which will interface with the airports’ existing traffic flows.  (Target implementation spring 2023.) (ref ACP-2017-70 – this ACP).  Design constraints associated with this ACP ensure that there is   no prospect to influence the low-level route designs of the airports (below 7,000ft), hence it has been categorised as Level 2a.

2.       London Airspace Modernisation Programme 2 - Deployment 1.2 (Referred to as LD1.2) –This ACP will be used to implement any further changes that may be required by airport ACPs subsequent to LD1.1.   LD1.2 will be coordinated with the airports and the output from the airports may result in further changes as part of LD1.2.  For example network connection changes for any amended or new arrival/departure routes proposed by Bristol, Cardiff, or Exeter airports. (ref ACP-2021-050).  The LD1.2 ACP will progress as a scaled Level 1. 

[1] Under CAP 1616 the CAA categorises ACPs by assigning them a “Level”, which in turn influences the process that is required to be followed.  The Levels are primarily based on the altitude and area in which the changes occur and are defined in CAP1616 Table 2 (page 25).