What is the Masterplan?
ACOG has been commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to create a single coordinated implementation plan – or Masterplan – for the interdependent airspace change proposals in the UK.
The purpose of the Masterplan is to identify where airspace changes are needed to support the delivery of the Airspace Modernisation Strategy. The focus will be on the redesign of some of the busiest portions of the UK’s airspace structure, which is like the road network of our skies for aviation. The majority of these routes have not been redesigned for many decades.
What will the Masterplan deliver?
The Masterplan will focus on five core strategic aims set out by the Secretary of State for Transport:
- Creating additional airspace capacity to support the growth of aviation.
- Reducing controlled airspace to the minimum necessary to facilitate safe aviation operations.
- Removing unnecessary lower airspace constraints
- Reducing airspace efficiency and congestion-related delays for passengers
- Reducing noise and CO2 emissions
Airport participants and NATS must work together to:
- Develop airspace design options
- Assess a wide range of possible flight paths
- Manage consultations with affected stakeholders in a joined-up way
- Plan the migration from today’s operation to the future.
One of ACOG’s most important roles is to draw together these many co-dependent strands of work into an overall Masterplan.
ACOG is committed to producing a Masterplan that provides overarching airspace design options under development, identifies the potential areas of overlap between individual airspace change proposals (ACPs), and facilitates solutions to the interdependencies and trade-offs that may need to be made between airports.
Integral to the process, the participating airports will be conducting consultations and engagement with their own stakeholders potentially impacted by their proposals as they develop their design principles and design options.
Creating the Masterplan: The process
An iterative approach to developing the Masterplan has been agreed with the CAA, which recognises that different information and levels of detail will be available at various points as the plan develops.
- A first iteration of the Masterplan was submitted to the CAA by NATS in July 2019 and was a high-level programme plan for airspace changes in the south of England only. Each future iteration of the Masterplan, produced by ACOG will need to be accepted into the Airspace Modernisation Strategy following a process of assessment by the CAA. There will be at least three more iterations of the Masterplan. The timings for each future iteration will evolve as stakeholders and the CAA review and feedback on the Masterplan.
- The second iteration of the Airspace Masterplan was accepted by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in January 2022. It provides a high-level description of the options under consideration in each airspace change proposal. It will be used to inform the second (Develop and Assess) gateway in the CAA’s CAP 1616 processes (PDF, 14.3 MB) for airspace change.
- It is expected that a third iteration of the Masterplan will be produced in 2022 and include a description of the proposed airspace structure and route network envisaged by the interdependent airspace change proposals when viewed as a collective. It will not include the detailed designs of all the routes.
Any future iterations will build on this and take into account the output of the consultation stages of each individual airport airspace change proposal.