Delivering successful airspace change is one of the biggest challenges currently facing airports and ANS providers. Improving airspace design is a key enabler in allowing aviation to live within ever increasing environmental challenges. At the same time as reducing fuel burn an airspace change must also deliver needed capacity improvements, enhance operational efficiency and meet local community expectations for noise management. This is not an easy ask.

Governments are also asking for greater transparency and evidence of real community consultation and engagement in airspace change activities. Within the UK, the advent of the CAA CAP1616 airspace change process and the formation of ICCAN – the impartial noise body – have further raised expectations about the rigour, transparency and quality of airspace change activities. No longer is an airspace change a simple matter of commissioning an Instrument Flight Procedure (IFP) designer, producing some designs, doing some rough assessments and then implementing the changes. Now, the IFP element is only a minor part of an overall process that requires stakeholder engagement, noise assessments, carbon assessments, economic appraisals and options evaluation. 

Adding to the complexity of the challenge, airports and their ANS units are now expected to manage the airspace change process and select from a range of potential suppliers for each facet of the process. There are a plethora of commercial IFP designers operating, each with their own approaches, tools, capabilities, specialities, track records and at a range of price points. Even the act of choosing an IFP designer can be difficult when few within each airport are likely to have the knowledge of what to ask for and how to select between suppliers. Choosing the right or wrong supplier can significantly impact the success of the ACP from the onset.


How We Can Help

Delivering a successful airspace change is a complex activity that needs to be well planned and executed from the point at which the need for change is identified. Think has an excellent, holistic, view of the needs and objectives of the overall airspace change process. We are not IFP designers, but we understand how to plan and execute an airspace change to deliver the maximum likelihood of success. We provide independent support throughout the ACP process, from requirements capture, through options appraisal including environmental, safety, capacity, ATC workload and operability assessments and real time ATC simulations of new airspace.

Think are specialists in various aspects of the ACP process including the environmental assessments (noise and carbon), economic appraisals against WebTAG criteria and options appraisal and can therefore be a core part of your consultant team, or we can provide a customer’s friend role, overseeing the work of others on your behalf. Our team have provided everything from full procurement support for IFP consultants through to ad-hoc customer’s friend roles and have provided specialist CAP1616 ACP training to several airports.

It is advisable to talk to us at an early point in your ACP planning activities as the sooner we are involved the greater the cost savings we can enable and the higher the likelihood of a successful change.



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