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December 5, 2016

Aviation industry demands UK airspace changes to avoid rising delays

The aviation industry has warned the UK of serious flight delays in the future if major changes are not made to the country’s airspace.

By Lopamudra Roy

The aviation industry has warned the UK of serious flight delays in the future if major changes are not made to the country’s airspace.

Research conducted by UK-based air traffic control company NATS demonstrates that flight delays are expected to increase from approximately 90,000 minutes every year to four million by 2030.

NATS claims that the country needs to upgrade its network of airspace structures and flight paths, which were originally developed 50 years ago, and redesign them to make the best use of advanced aircraft technology.

NATS CEO Martin Rolfe said: “A thriving aviation industry that connects us to the rest of the world has never been more important, but this problem is an existential threat to both the industry’s health and the wider health of UK plc.”

As highlighted in a campaign organised by the Sky’s the Limit group, the failure of successive UK governments to modernise the country's airspace is adversely affecting its environment, as aeroplanes have to fly longer distances than required.

Supported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the campaign urges politicians to initiate necessary airspace changes in a bid to improve air traffic routes in the UK, as well as the entire European airspace.

"We need each country to develop a national airspace strategy, in full consultation with airlines, to maximise the potential of our airspace system."

IATA European regional vice-president Rafael Schvartzman said: “We need each country to develop a national airspace strategy, in full consultation with airlines, to maximise the potential of our airspace system.

“There should be no limits to creating the high-quality airspace network passengers deserve.”

Upgrading airspace routes would reportedly reduce fuel usage, delays, and carbon and noise emissions, as well as facilitate shorter travel times and improved connections for passengers.

An estimate from Amsterdam’s SEO Economics Research reveals that airspace changes could provide up to £29bn for the UK's economy, as well as open opportunities for 116,000 jobs every year by 2035.


Image: UK airspace calls for urgent and necessary changes to avoid future flight delays. Photo: courtesy of NATS.

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