Blog: Paving the way for action on airspace change and decarbonisation
Published on: in the Airspace Modernisation category
It was brilliant to be part of the 2023 Sustainable Skies World Summit at Farnborough. There was a palpable sense of energy at the 2 day event on how to decarbonise the industry and it is clear that large steps are being taken to get there.
However, while it was inspiring to see the latest developments in the industry and new pieces of tech on show, it is clear that we need some bold plans to ensure that delivery matches the ambition, including on how we modernise airspace.
As I shared on the panel I sat on, airspace modernisation is a quick win with changes already being delivered in the medium and upper level airspace by NATS, with the lower more complex airspace, within the next 3-7 years across the whole of the UK.
Our new awareness campaign highlights just how outdated large parts of the network still are and, although they are perfectly safe, the problems this creates with things like congestion and delays that are only set to worsen if nothing changes.
It’s incredible to think that the network of routes around our airports haven’t changed that much since the 1950s when rotary telephones and typewriters were in common use! What’s more, most of the technology needed to modernise airspace is ready and available. Aircraft today can fly using satellite navigation yet many are having to follow inefficient and outdated routes, often flying further than necessary.
The benefits of modernising airspace are clear – reduced congestion and fewer delays and carbon emissions per flight. Our recent report, conducted by PA and released at the end of January, highlighted just a few of the economic benefits that could be achieved.
Delivering airspace change requires us to work together not just as an industry but with a range of stakeholders in and around the 22 airports that are a part of the Airspace Change Programme. This is a complex programme and our new awareness campaign.
One of ACOG’s main roles is to develop an Airspace Change Masterplan for the UK. The team is currently working on the next version of this which will focus on the changes to be made in Scotland – the first of the airports to be deploying changes in the next few years. We’ll be setting out more information on this over the summer.
It is an exciting time to be involved in the upgrade of the UK’s airspace. I look forward to keeping you updated on progress this year. Please get in contact with any questions or queries you might have.
Mark Swan, Head of the Airspace Change Organising Group
Visit the One Sky One Plan website here.