Airspace Regulation

The Civil Aviation Authority in the United Kingdom

The Civil Aviation Authority is the federal organization in charge of controlling airspace in the United Kingdom. "Licensing of air traffic roles such as air traffic controllers, air navigation services, airspace change, communication, navigation, and surveillance, event notification, future airspace strategy, and rules of the air" are just a few of the many responsibilities it oversees. (Civil Aviation Authority, n.d.). Because it is founded on international standards, the United Kingdom's system of classifying airspace is comparable to that of the United States. "Classes A to G airspace are divided into three-dimensional blocks of space." (Civil Aviation Authority, n.d.). Of the 6 classes, classes A to F are controlled while only class G is uncontrolled. Airspace in the United States, on the other hand, is categorized into two broad categories: regulatory and non-regulatory. “Within these two categories, there are four types: controlled, uncontrolled, special use, and other airspace.” (Federal Aviation Administration, 2016). Like the categorization in the United Kingdom, classes A to F are categorized under controlled airspace while class G is uncontrolled.

Changing Airspace Categorization in the United Kingdom

Changing airspace categorization in the United Kingdom is dictated by the "Airspace Change Process Guidance Document" which is commonly referred to as CAP 725. A change proposal in accordance to CAP 725 must satisfy the following requirements: "justification for the change and analysis of change options; airspace description; supporting infrastructure/resources; operational impact; economic impact; safety management; airspace and infrastructure requirements; and supporting maps, charts, and diagrams" (Civil Aviation Authority, 2016). The requirements of the U.S. Administrative Procedure Act are strikingly similar, with any change proposal judged based on the justification for the change and a fulfillment of all requirements required to operate in the proposed airspace. The FAA must act in accordance with the Act, a provision which is meant to protect the interest of American citizens. This is unlike the case in the United Kingdom where the Civil Aviation Authority is not bound by such strict laws. The CAA only has to follow safety procedures set out by the Transport Act of 2000 rather than a wide spanning legislation as is the case in the United States.


Civil Aviation Authority. N.d. Airspace. Retrieved from

Civil Aviation Authority. N.d. How is UK airspace structured? Retrieved from

Civil Aviation Authority (2016). CAA Guidance on the Application of the Airspace Change Process. Retrieved from

Federal Aviation Administration (2016). Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Retrieved from

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