Airspace Inquiry launched by Parliamentary Group
The 174-member-strong AllParty Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA) has launched a major inquiry into UK airspace and how it is managed. ‘The Group believes that the UK’S airspace belongs to everyone and therefore removing it from certain users must come with specific responsibilities. Equitable access is therefore paramount,’ it says.
The wide-ranging inquiry will study all components of governance and process that result in airspace decisions being made in the UK, and its report is expected to make a series of recommendations on how to improve the current system, which is widely believed to produce inequitable outcomes for the majority of airspace users.
A Call for Evidence has been opened, closing on 31 October, and the APPG-GA is encouraging all aviationrelated organisations to submit evidence. Hearings will take place at Westminster with certain key witnesses expected to be called for interview in person. The report and hearings will be chaired by Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate, Parliamentary Chair of the Airspace Working Group (who is a pilot), and hearings will be broadcast live and recorded. The report, to be published in 2019, will include recommendations for ministers and a formal response will be requested from government ministers. MPS and Peers may decide to introduce legislation in order to bring findings into effect.
Lord Kirkhope commented: “The General Aviation APPG believes that the UK’S airspace belongs to everyone, so this inquiry aims to study the governance and process that result in airspace decisions and what improvements can be made to the current system. I encourage all organisations interested in this subject to submit their views via the Call for Evidence.”
Sector Chair of the Airspace Working Group, Pete Stratten, added: “Airspace should effectively belong to everyone, but some airspace users believe the current system leads to imbalances. This inquiry and report will investigate this and our recommendations will be designed to strike the right balance when it comes to sharing our nation’s airspace.”
The Rt Hon Grant Shapps, MP, Chair of the APPG on General Aviation, said: “Parliament is keen to deliver on the Government’s own ambition of making the UK the best country in the world for aviation. In order to achieve this lofty goal, we need to sort out how our airspace is shared out. Currently it feels like there is too little ministerial or parliamentary input on defining the airspace policy and rules. In a democracy this cannot be right, and this inquiry is designed to study the evidence, make recommendations, encourage ministers to respond positively and if necessary parliamentarians may choose to introduce legislation to enact our findings.”
Lord Kirkhope of Harrowgate will chair the APPG'S hearings at Westminster