The government has announced plans for a major “modernisation” of the UK’s airspace over the next few years for the first time since the 1950s.
Aviation minister Baroness Vere has revealed plans to change the way airspace is managed that could reduce journey times and delays, as well as increasing environmental benefits by allowing aircraft to burn less fuel.
“Like our road and rail infrastructure on the ground, we need to keep our infrastructure in the sky up to date to keep people moving,” added Baroness Vere.
“It hasn’t fundamentally changed since the 1950s, and without action, one in three flights could faces delays of half an hour or more by 2030.
“It is a complex and pressing task, but it will make flying cleaner, quieter and quicker, as we make our aviation sector one of the greenest in the world.”
The Department for Transport said the process will be carried out in stages over the next few years, with the aim of creating an improved system that will reduce aircraft fuel use by around 20% – equivalent to 400,000 fewer flights per year.
The DfT said modernising UK airspace would reduced the need for “stacking” where aircraft join a circular queue before being cleared for landing – this is especially a problem at Heathrow.
Ending this practice would reduce noise and carbon emissions from aircraft and would help to play a part in the aviation industry’s goal of reducing net emissions by 50% by 2050.