Aviation industry welcomes Government support for airspace modernisation

Published: 26.01.2017

Dale Keller, Chief Executive of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK and speaking on behalf of The Sky’s the Limit coalition, said:

“Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has set out the overwhelming case for airspace modernisation. It will benefit the economy, through faster journeys and dramatically reducing the risk of future delays as a result of increased capacity, and reduce aviation’s impact on the environment and local communities.

“We hope his welcome words are the start of strong Government leadership on airspace modernisation. The aviation industry is working hard to play its part in putting the necessary technology and operating procedures in place but to harness the full potential of airspace modernisation, we need a clear Government framework on how they want us to deliver it in practice, such as where there are competing views on the impact of new flightpaths.

“The consultation on the Government’s airspace policy will be an opportunity to get this right and The Sky’s the Limit encourages all stakeholders to respond to the Government’s consultation to ensure everyone’s views can be considered. We will then play our part in modernising the airspace so that the benefits Mr Grayling has set out become reality.”

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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