Aviation industry welcomes Government response to airspace consultation

Published: 25.10.2017

The Sky’s the limit coalition representing airports, airlines and UK air traffic control has welcomed the publication of the Government’s airspace policy as a first step towards modernising our airspace.

Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, speaking on behalf of The Sky’s the limit said: “The Secretary of State for Transport has today taken a welcome next step on its policy for modernising airspace.

“The case for modernisation is overwhelming. It will reduce aviation’s impact on the environment and local communities as well as benefit the economy, through faster journeys and dramatically reducing the risk of future delays as a result of increased capacity.

“Airspace is part of the UK’s critical infrastructure and modernising it will require strong and continued leadership from Government on behalf of the whole country. We draw confidence from the Government’s recognition of this issue and this response as further evidence of their commitment to modernise our airspace.

“The aviation industry will play its part to deliver the necessary technologies and operating procedures to support modernisation as well as to build support for change, particularly through working with communities to minimise aviation’s impact on them.”

ENDS

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About the Sky’s the Limit campaign

The Sky’s the Limit is a campaign group of leading aviation organisations calling on the Government to prioritise its work on airspace and noise, and support industry initiatives to modernise our airspace.

The Sky’s the Limit campaign members include the Airport Operators Association, the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, Airlines UK and the International Air Transport Association

What is airspace modernisation?

Controlled airspace is the invisible structure of airways and flight paths commercial aircraft follow when flying through the UK. Designed over 50 years ago for an industry vastly different in scale to the one we have today, it was never envisaged that UK airspace would eventually handle more than two million aircraft and carry 250 million passengers, as it did in 2015.

And air traffic is set to continue to grow, reaching 3.1 million aircraft carrying 350 million passengers by 2030. The boosts to trade and tourism from this growth are substantial, but to secure it the UK needs to ensure that it can manage that demand without delaying passengers or cancelling flights. We need to modernise our invisible infrastructure without further delay.

Through better operating procedures that can be utilised with a modern airspace structure, aircraft can fly more directly and routes can be designed to avoid noise sensitive areas or provide a more equitable spread of noise. It will also mean greater use of continuous descent and climb operations which reduce noise and CO2 emissions. In essence, aircraft would be able to fly quieter and more efficient routes.

It will also benefit the UK economy. Airspace modernisation across Europe will deliver over £29bn to UK GDP and 116,000 jobs by 2035 (IATA, 2016).

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