The airspace above and around South East England is some of the busiest in the world and is likely to remain so for many decades to come

NATS video explaining why UK airspace needs to be redesigned. 

UK airspace was designed in the 1950s for aircraft which were much less capable than today’s. Making sure that modern planes can perform to the best of their ability - together with the fact that there are now many more of them in our skies - means we must make changes now. The ambition of airspace modernisation is to help make journeys ‘quicker, quieter and cleaner’.

If we don’t modernise, we could see 50 times as many delays as we do today, and one in three flights will be delayed by more than 30 minutes by 2030.

New technology will help deliver more capacity and keep the UK moving by reducing delays; a redesigned route network will optimise aircraft performance. That is why the Government, the UK aviation industry and the Civil Aviation Authority are working together with local communities to modernise our airspace. Gatwick believes that airspace modernisation will unlock a wide range of benefits, for example:

  • Modernisation may provide more choice and value for passengers. More destinations could open up and increase competition, which could make the cost of flying go down as less fuel will be used.
  • Modernising our airspace will improve the resilience of flights, so we can all be more confident that our holidays and business trips will not be affected by costly delays.
  • It will also make it easier for today’s modern aircraft to fly to their full capability with quicker climbs and later descents to help reduce the noise footprint on the ground. 

The airspace modernisation strategy sets out a range of connected initiatives which are aimed to deliver wholesale change by 2024/25. This will be one of the most complex change programmes the aviation community have embarked upon.

The major programme is known as ‘FASI-South’, which will change the architecture of the airspace design across the South East of England. The DfT has asked NATS/NERL to lead on the re-design of airspace above 7,000 feet and all airports affected, including Gatwick, to lead its own airspace change below 7,000 feet.  All changes will be overseen by the CAA and follow the airspace change process laid out in the regulators guide CAP 1616[RP1] . 

Further details about our part in the FASI-South programme, the desired benefits, our schedule for engagement and how you can input into this programme can be found on the CAA’s airspace change portal where you can register an interest in any of our airspace changes

Further information about how and why UK airspace is changing is on Our Future Skies website. 

Airspace modernisation Q&As

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Airspace modernisation and Gatwick Q&As

How will airspace modernisation be planned and implemented at Gatwick? 

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