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Evolving to meet stakeholder challenges
The Future Airspace Strategy of the UK and Ireland aims to identify the steps to achieving a vision of "safe, efficient airspace in 2030 that has the capacity to meet reasonable demand, balances the needs of all users and mitigates the impact of aviation on the environment".
To date, much of the work has focused on areas of medium and high traffic density but it is as important to ensure that the needs of users of low traffic density airspace, such as is found in the north and west of Scotland and many other regions of Ireland and the UK, are accommodated. This low density, low complexity area (or LDLCA) comprises a variety of users with specific expectations, and is impacted by policies such as lifeline (publicly funded) services, wind energy targets, and on-going aviation spectrum release. Despite opposition to change from some stakeholders, the evolution of the traffic mix, technical developments in avionics, aforementioned government policies, and need for economic viability of the aviation infrastructure force strategic planning for the region.
Working on behalf of the UK CAA, Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and five other funding stakeholders, Helios recently delivered the results of an independent scoping study including extensive consultation with UK and Irish stakeholders on the future of LDLCA. We identified several feasible roadmaps with options including new airspace design principles, performance based navigation, new surveillance techniques including airborne surveillance, 4G/5G for non-safety critical applications, and provision of remote towers and centralised approach centres. Particular value was shown through clarity of the timing of changes, understanding the cost models of individual stakeholders, and examining the potential public and private financing streams.
The study can now be taken forwards by the UK CAA, IAA and all funding partners, with a single roadmap developed to ensure a viable and safe future environment for LDLCA.
For further information contact Ben Stanley.