Thursday, February 28, 2008

CAA and NATS Say 'Not Enough Airspace in South East'

In the Competition Commission’s Market Investigation of BAA an eagle eyed colleague spotted yet another blunder in the world of aviation expansion - there's not enough space.

Taken from a submission by the Civil Aviation Authority, May 2007, this tells it quite plainly:

27. Airspace is a finite resource. Safety is the absolute priority for the management of air traffic flows through a given volume of airspace. This is achieved through the application of, internationally agreed, horizontal, and vertical separation criteria that are applied to all aircraft operating within defined volumes of controlled airspace. In the southeast of England where there are multiple airports with high traffic volumes of aircraft with different performance characteristics on a wide variety of departure and arrival routes, there is a limit to the amount of traffic that can be accommodated safely at any one time.

28 Over time, incremental changes to controlled airspace volumes and modifications to arrival and departure routes have been made to increase capacity and improve the efficiency of the airspace. To date, all airspace change requests have been managed and implemented. However, the CAA and NATS are of the view that, were all of the SE airport development plans9 to come to fruition, there would not be sufficient airspace capacity to accommodate the scale of predicted traffic growth on the basis of current and predicted technology. As a consequence, airspace constraints may affect the future nature and degree of competition in this market.

9 As currently included in airport master plans and the DfT’s Air Transport White Paper Progress Report (DfT, December 2006).

All credits to 'B'.