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Why is an airspace upgrade necessary?

Just like the road and rail networks need to keep pace with new technology, airspace needs to keep up with advances across the aviation industry and with demand. So what’s changed?

  • The number of passengers flying through UK airspace has more than doubled since 1995.
  • Demand for aviation is forecast to grow by more then 30 per cent by 2030.
  • If we do nothing, delays will grow to 25 times today’s level, with a quarter of all flights delayed by 30 minutes or more – some will be delayed for hours.
  • This inefficiency would generate more than five million tonnes of additional CO2 in UK airspace.

 

How will FAS help?

Modernising the UK airspace will mean fewer people being affected by aircraft noise and less noise per flight. Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) is not about new runways. But it will mean changing some flight paths, and that will mean different patterns of noise.

Modernising the route network will mean aircraft using UK airspace can fly as efficiently as possible with optimum climb and descent trajectories and minimum delay.

Without upgrading, today’s quieter and cleaner modern aircraft will continue to fly inefficient, lower and noisier flight paths. As traffic increases it will also mean more and more delays on the ground and in the air.

Upgrading transport networks is rarely easy. The industry, Government and local communities will need to work together to balance the impacts of making changes. FAS has an important role in bringing together these stakeholders.

 

Why is this work so important?

Right across the UK, aviation is the crucial link to markets in the rest of the world. We need the airspace infrastructure to maintain and optimise these links, for all regions of the UK. This is important because:

  • our airspace underpins the UK economy and also supports a diverse leisure industry, the military and, increasingly, new users including unmanned aircraft and the space industry
  • the aviation sector contributes more than £50bn to the economy and supports around one million UK jobs
  • tourists arriving by air contribute another £20bn
  • air freight is vital both to our own economy and those economies that rely on
    selling to us.

There will be significant benefits to the aviation industry, airspace users and general
public.