Free Route Airspace (FRA) Deployment 2

Closed 29 Nov 2021

Opened 6 Sep 2021

Published responses

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



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Free Route Airspace (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 5 years.  

FRA is Initiative 2 of the UK CAA’s Airspace Modernisation Strategy (AMS) (CAP 1711), and mandated for European Union (EU) members in European Law (EU Implementing Regulation EU716/204).  

NATS is proposing to introduce FRA across UK airspace in four deployments. This second deployment (Deployment 2) will implement FRA across the majority of the Southwest of the UK UIR airspace.  The concept will also enable the opportunity to flight plan across the airspace managed by Borealis Alliance member ANSPs unconstrained by the route network in each ANSP’s airspace with free crossing at boundaries not limited to fixed entry/exit points.

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 ACPs.

This ACP proposes the introduction of Deployment 2 of FRA (in the UK) across the area depicted in the black box in Figure 1. 

This implementation is in co-ordination with LAMP (London Airspace Modernisation Programme) Deployment 1.1, which will change the airspace below the FRA D2 region between 7,000ft and 24,500ft.  The consultations for these two ACPs are being run simultaneously and the implementation of these Airspace Changes is dependent on both progressing and being approved.   

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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.  In which all ATS routes are removed.

· FRA Option 2.  In which the ATS route structure is partially maintained.

· FRA Option 3.  In which the ATS route structure is maintained, but aircraft are not constrained to flight plan the routes within the FRA.

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

The consultation begins on 6 September 2021 and ends on 29 November 2021, a period of 12 weeks and 1 day.   

If the proposal is approved by the CAA, implementation of the airspace change will occur not before March 2023.

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.