Free Route Airspace (FRA) Deployment 2.1 PEMAK/TAKAS

Closed 8 Feb 2021

Opened 11 Jan 2021

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Free Route Airspace (FRA) is well established in Europe and NATS has been involved in developing the FRA concept over the last 5 years.  FRA is a major initiative of the UK CAA’s Airspace Modernisation Strategy (AMS) (CAP 1711).  The implementation of FRA by European Union (EU) member states was mandated in European Law under the EU Implementing Regulation EU716/204 and has been recommended as a part of the Eurocontrol Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) programme.  Aligned to the UK AMS, NATS is proposing to phase the introduction of Free Route Airspace (FRA) across UK airspace. This deployment is specifically concerned with the introduction of FRA in airspace where the provision of ATS has been delegated to the IAA Shannon ACC and the DSNA Brest ACC in the far south west corner of the UK UIR.

These regions are currently known as the PEMAK Triangle and the TAKAS Box and are depicted in the chart below. 

NATS sponsors this airspace change but the provision of Air Traffic Services (ATS) in the region has been delegated to Brest and Shannon for decades.  This provides the best primary radar cover and enables the most efficient management of traffic flows.  The introduction of FRA will allow aircraft in upper airspace to flight plan and fly between waypoints and not be constrained by the current network of routes.  

The change from a network of routes to FRA represents a significant change for aircraft operators and Air Traffic Control (ATC); NATS welcomes your feedback to develop our proposed deployment.  Future deployments will be consulted on through separate Airspace Change Proposals (ACP).

The level of change expected to support the implementation of FRA requires airspace changes to be implemented effectively and safely.  Along with the European Mandate to implement FRA and the CAA’s AMS, developing the concept to support the needs of Airspace Users and Aviation Stakeholders remains important to ensure changes are fit for purpose and comply with the required regulation and legislation.

The consultation document is available here, and at the bottom of this web page along with supporting material.

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Why your views matter

We want to share the potential benefits for implementation of FRA against the proposed options presented in the consultation document:

•  FRA Option 1.  Implement FRA in accordance with Implementing Regulation EU716/2014, remove all ATS routes and rationalise waypoints in accordance with the DSNA Brest ACC FRA design in both the PEMAK Triangle and TAKAS Box

•  FRA Option 2.  Implement FRA in accordance with Implementing Regulation EU716/2014, remove all ATS routes and rationalise waypoints in accordance with the DSNA Brest ACC FRA design in the PEMAK Triangle but retain ATS routes in the TAKAS Box

The changes proposed in this ACP will only affect flights above FL245, c.24,500ft

The consultation begins on 11th January 2021 and ends on 8th February 2021, a period of 4 weeks.   

If the proposal is approved by the CAA, implementation of the airspace change will occur on 2nd December 2021.

What happens next

During consultation we gathered feedback from stakeholders and any interested parties. 

Responses will then be analysed and themed.  After the consultation finishes we will publish a consultation feedback document, which will summarise the themes and NATS’ response to any issues raised. 

The feedback document will be available for download via the CAA portal.  Any new requirements identified will be considered in the on-going design process.  The ACP will detail the design being submitted and make reference to changes that have been made to take account of consultation feedback.