Drones integral as CAA launches modernisation strategy in major overhaul of UK airspace

Drone Trial at LSA 2

The UK Civil Aviation Authority and the Government have developed a shared objective for modernising airspace to deliver quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys.

The plan sets out a new structure for delivering the strategy and clear methods for engaging with relevant stakeholders in a responsible way.

Named the Airspace Modernisation Strategy, the plan replaces the Future Airspace Strategy and lays out the ways and means to modernise the design, technology and operations of airspace, initially focusing on the period until the end of 2024.

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The plan covers all manner of aircraft in airspace but drones and the increasing popularity around them have played a major role.

The CAA says the structure of the UK’s airspace has remained the same for decades, despite an increase in demand from users.

According to research conducted by the air traffic control provider, commercial passenger flights will be delayed more and more if nothing changes and other airspace users such as drone operators want more access to the same infrastructure, while local communities want the adverse impacts better mitigated.

The CAA says modernisation is critical to ensure that this invisible piece of the UK’s national infrastructure is fit for purpose for the future.

As part of the announcement, the CAA stated that the contemporary will mean more choice and value for consumers, allow airlines to add new flights, reduce flight delays and enhance global connections that can help boost the UK economy.

It went on to say how coupled with the adoption of new technology by existing airspace users, the plan will also help pave the way for increased safe access for newer airspace users like drones.

Tim Johnson, policy director at the CAA, said: “Airspace is a crucial part of the UK’s infrastructure and it must be maintained and improved. Unlocking the benefits of modernisation will make journeys faster and more environmentally friendly. Better airspace design can help with the management of noise impacts and improve access for existing and new types of airspace users.”

He added: “Airspace modernisation in the UK is complex, but essential.  Our new strategy will ensure there is accountability and engagement for the delivery of this necessary reform.”

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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