About airspace changes
Aircraft operate in either controlled airspace (like roads in the sky) or uncontrolled airspace (where they can fly freely). Within controlled airspace, there are flight procedures and flight paths that pilots follow to arrive at, or depart from, airports. These are elements of the overall airspace design. If someone wants to change the design of UK airspace, they must submit an airspace change proposal to the Civil Aviation Authority. These are usually made by airports or air traffic control service providers, who we call ‘change sponsors’. Airspace change proposals have to go through our airspace change process, following a series of steps before being submitted to us for a decision. This website hosts all airspace change proposals currently under development, including all relevant documents and information, and gives you the chance to submit feedback at various steps.
The following pages explain key concepts and terms used in the airspace change process, and when you can have your say.
You can find detailed guidance on the full process by clicking this link to CAP 1616 - Airspace Design: Guidance on the regulatory process for changing airspace design including community engagement requirements. You can view further information on airspace and airspace change, including how the process was developed, on the CAA website by clicking this link.
What is the airspace change process?
The airspace change process is made up of fourteen steps and four gateways. At the first three gateways, the CAA checks that the sponsor’s work has properly followed the process, allowing the proposal to proceed to the next step. The fourth gateway is when the CAA decides whether to accept the proposal or not.