Accessibility Passengers Corporate

Airspace change and modernisation

The structure of the UK's airspace has remained the same for decades, despite an increase in demand from its users. In 2017 the Government instructed the UK’s independent aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to develop a strategy to modernise the UK’s airspace.

The CAA consulted on an initial draft of this strategy in 2018 and the final version of the Airspace Modernisation Strategy was published in December 2018.

At Bristol Airport we’re fully committed to this initiative and are fully engaged in this programme’s aims to make journeys quicker, quieter and cleaner.

In October 2018, Bristol Airport submitted a Statement of Need setting out our intention to make changes to the airspace impacting departure and arrival procedures.

In 2019 we developed a set of Design Principles which took into account feedback received from engagement workshops where a large number of aviation, community and local stakeholders attended. The Design Principles outline the objectives Bristol Airport is seeking to achieve through an airspace change; such as environmental and operational aims. We submitted these to the CAA in December 2019 which were approved. This completed Stage 1 of the CAP1616 process.

In early 2020 we began Stage 2 of the airspace change process which involved developing a long list of design options. Bristol Airport held design workshops with aviation stakeholders who were encouraged to suggest design ideas based on the Statement of Need (SoN) and Design Principles.

In March 2020 the Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) was paused as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on Bristol Airport. In March 2021, the DfT announced that they would be providing funding to 20 UK airports, including Bristol, allowing them to continue with Stage 2 of their ACP. This is in support of the UK Airspace Modernisation Strategy which has committed to modernising the UK airspace – both low level around airports and the wider network at a higher level.

Bristol Airport made a formal request to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in May 2021 to re-start the ACP which was accepted.

Stage 2 activities commenced in May 2021 and involved the development of design options which were presented through engagement sessions with all stakeholders that were engaged during Stage 1 of the ACP process. We formally submitted Stage 2 documentation to the CAA in July and approval was granted on 3rd August 2022.

We are now working on our consultation strategy for Stage 3a of the CAP1616 process. Further details will be provided in due course.

We’ve produced a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) designed to explain Airspace Change in more detail and how it might affect you and our operations here at Bristol Airport. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please email [email protected].