The Future Airspace Strategy has a plan in place to modernise an outdated and inefficient airspace structure and provide the capacity required to handle increasing traffic levels and passenger demand.

The FAS Deployment Plan was developed collaboratively by airports, aircraft operators, air navigation service providers (ANSPs), the Ministry of Defence and the Civil Aviation Authority.

The aim of the organisations engaged in the FAS Plan is to to avoid a sharp increase in delays, cancellations and lost supply as traffic grows.

The Plan also aims to cut aviation emissions and fuel burn per flight and better manage noise impacts.

The investments in the FAS Plan can be grouped into five main upgrades:

  • Removing the fixed structures in the en-route airspace
  • Completely redesigning the terminal airspace
  • Deploying Queue Management tools to reduce congestion and the level of airborne stack holding
  • Introducing more precise and flexible airport arrival and departure routes
  • Sharing accurate airspace information between airports and air traffic controllers to maximise available capacity.

Some projects, like the introduction of Time Based Separation at Heathrow and Direct Route Airspace over Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland are already implemented and delivering benefits.

Several of the FAS Plan projects are scheduled for deployment before 2019 and are expected to significantly increase the airspace capacity in response to growing traffic levels.

The FAS Plan’s ambition to upgrade airspace at lower altitudes presents an opportunity to deploy innovative new operational techniques that can improve the management of aircraft noise.

Operational techniques like traffic dispersion and concentration for noise management reasons, noise respite approaches and the redistribution of noise impacts are enabled by the plans to upgrade airport standard arrival and departure routes to a satellite navigation standard.

The current Deployment Plan was published in 2017. The plan is published on this website.

Deployment Plan

Planned airspace upgrades by phase of flight.