Free Route Airspace (FRA) Deployment 3

Closed 16 Jul 2023

Opened 5 Jun 2023

Results expected 25 Aug 2023

Feedback expected 25 Aug 2023

Published responses

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


This Airspace Change is for a further deployment of Free Route Airspace (FRA) within the UK.  FRA allows aircraft in upper airspace to flight plan and fly between existing points and not be constrained to follow the current network of routes.  FRA is well established across Europe and NATS has been involved in developing the FRA concept over the last 6 years.  

FRA is a requirement of the UK CAA’s Airspace Modernisation Strategy (AMS) (CAP 1711), and mandated within UK law (Implementing Regulation EU716/204) following the withdrawal from the EU.  

NATS has already introduced FRA across UK airspace in three areas over two deployments. This deployment (Deployment 3) will extend current Scottish FRA further south to the border of ATC Control Centre boundaries, as shown in the diagram below.  

NATS welcomes your feedback to develop our proposed deployment.  Future deployments will be consulted on through separate ACPs.

Why your views matter

We want to extend current FRA within UK airspace.  Current technology limits the geographical extent we can currently deploy FRA, to the area shown.  This will maintain safety and provide environmental and efficency benefits. 

D3 must align with current FRA, so we propose a single design option; to implement FRA with all ATS routes removed, within the identified deployment area.

The changes proposed in this ACP will only affect flights above FL255, c.25,500ft

The consultation begins on 5 June 2023 and ends on 16 July 2023, a period of 6 weeks.   

If the proposal is approved by the CAA, implementation of the airspace change will occur not before March 2024.

What happens next

During consultation we gather 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.