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Airspace change

The expansion of the airport is not just about the physical changes required on the ground. Building a new runway will also lead to changes to where and how planes fly in the future.

Changes to flight paths will be confirmed through the airspace change process which is determined by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The south east of England is already one of the busiest airspaces in the world with five major airports in close proximity. The airspace that these airports use was designed for an age when aircraft and navigation was much less sophisticated. A major airspace modernisation programme is already underway across all of these airports.

There will be several stages of consultation before the final flight paths needed to operate a three runway Heathrow are decided. This ensures the views of affected stakeholders are considered throughout the airspace design process.

The first stage – which is the focus of this consultation – sets out some of the key design principles that could be used as a basis for developing Heathrow’s future airspace design.

On the pages in this section you will find all of the relevant information relating to this stage.

UK Airspace change - background

Modernisation of the UK’s airspace is required to accommodate growing demand for air travel, regardless of the expansion of Heathrow.