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28 - Jan - 2017

Airlines Welcome UK Airspace Modernisation Plans



Airlines have welcomed the government’s plans to modernise the UK airspace, as outlined by transport secretary Chris Grayling.

Speaking during the Airlines UK annual dinner, Mr Grayling said the government will soon launch a consultation on measures to support a revamp of UK airspace infrastructure.

He said: “While modern aircraft are fitted with the latest satellite navigation technology, most of our airspace arrangements are half a century old.

“I know how frustrated you and your passengers are by the delays this causes. And I recognise the damage it does to your businesses.

“Without action, flight delays will increase enormously in the next few years. This wouldn’t just be damaging for passengers, but also for the economy and the environment. That is why I am determined to address this challenge.

He added that the measures would involve the use of modern technology with the aim of reducing delays, cutting noise for local communities and lowering carbon emissions.

Although he didn’t reveal the timeframe, the transport secretary confirmed that the Department for Transport was preparing “a long-term framework covering airports, safety, security, competitiveness, consumers, regulation and capacity”.

“We’re focusing on issues where government can make a difference. And we’ll stay clear of issues where we can’t,” he said.

 Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade responded saying: “Airspace modernisation is a critical, but sometimes overlooked part of our national infrastructure.

“The UK’s airspace was created over 50 years ago when there were just half a million planes in the sky. It was never designed for the record number of aircraft, around 2.4 million in 2015, which now travel through it.

“We know that airspace redesign can present major challenges for airports, and good community engagement will be a vital part of the process.

“That said, to ensure capacity can keep pace with demand, airspace modernisation is urgently required and, without it, delays faced by passengers are likely to soar to four million minutes by 2030.”

By Airport Pickups London