Page Summary

Information and resources relating to the use of UK Airspace.

Main Content

The Government requires the Directorate of Airspace Policy to secure the most efficient use of airspace consistent with the safe operation of aircraft and the expeditious flow of air traffic whilst taking into consideration the requirements of operations and owners of all classes of aircraft. Additionally environmental implications and national security issues must be considered. 

The work of the Directorate includes:

  • the approval and establishment of controlled airspace;
  • the formulation, monitoring and enforcement of airspace standards, rules and regulations; and,
  • the planning of off-route airspace arrangements.


Airspace Classification

ICAO requires airspace to be classified and designated according to the ICAO ATS Airspace Classifications described in ICAO Annex 11. The UK’s application of these is subject to a number of Differences filed with ICAO that are summarised at GEN 1.7 of the UK Aeronautical Publication.

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Unusual Aerial Activity

This includes the management of:

  • Unmanned helium balloon releases
  • Firework, laser and searchlight events
  • Sky Lanterns 

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Visual Flight Procedures

Aimed at pilots not familiar with UK airspace procedures. Extracts and links to areas of the UK AIP related to Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Also a Google Earth 3D representation of UK Classified Airspace from Surface to FL195, Visual Reference Point (VRP) locations and numerous other useful resources.

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Unmanned Aircraft

Information and guidance associated with the operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

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London Helicopter Crossing

All helicopters flying in the London (Heathrow) and London City Control Zones (CTRs), are subject to an Air Traffic Control (ATC) clearance and particular visibility minima. In the main, pilots navigate by visual reference to ground features with only limited ATC Radar assistance.

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Future Airspace Strategy

The aim of the Future Airspace Strategy is to provide a policy structure to enable a modernised air traffic management system that provides safe, efficient airspace, that has the capacity to meet reasonable demand, balances the needs of all users and mitigates the impact of aviation on the environment.

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