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Future Airspace

Find out how Manchester Airport is modernising airspace.

Future Airspace EU

In February 2017 the Department for Transport published ‘Upgrading UK Airspace’.  This document reviewed how modern aircraft can use new technology onboard aircraft for greater efficiency and reduced noise. The current departure routes for aircraft are based on navigation equipment on the ground. Modern aircraft can replace this method of navigation by using satellites. Satellite-based routes enable aircraft to more accurately follow the centre lines of departure routes while maintaining safety.


The CAA consulted on a process for airports to work with communities when they modernise their airspace. This process was introduced in 2017 and amended in 2018, in a document called CAP1616, this sets out a detailed process that must be used. This document is published online here.


You can find out more about why Airspace change is needed by following this link to a video.


Stage 1 of the modernisation process is for an airport to issue a Statement of Need to the CAA to approve the start of a change process. Manchester Airport did this in March 2019 and the CAA gave approval for Manchester Airport to begin the change process following the process set out in CAP1616. The whole process is expected to take two years followed by a review process one year after implementation. 


Step 1B was an opportunity for the community and industry to comment on Design Principles. We produced an information pack and promoted this widely. We also met with elected representatives, held Focus Groups and provided opportunities to discuss this process face-to-face at Outreach sessions in August, September and October. All comments had to be returned to Manchester Airport by Sunday 6th October 2019 and the link to upload data has now closed. However, you can see the consultation document ‘Be part of the Conversation’ here and is also available in single colour here


We have now evaluated the feedback from Focus Groups and insights from members of the public. Comments were evaluated to produce a set of 10 Draft Design Principles that were tested with a further set of Focus Groups. We carefully considered the comments and feedback to produce a set of 9 Proposed Design Principles. These have been sent to the CAA in a report for evaluation. You can read the full report here, a full colour summary document here (or in single colour here) or on the CAA web site.


The CAA have now reviewed our report and Proposed Design Principles and they have given their approval for Manchester Airport to move to Stage 2 of the CAP1616 process.

A Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) has been established to represent the views of communities around our Airport and affected by our operations. This Group will meet periodically during the Future Airspace project to comment on and review the process that Manchester Airport uses during the whole CAP1616 review. The SRG is independently managed by the Consultation Institute and they will produce agendas and minutes that will be published on this web page.


A number of Appendices were also submitted to the CAA:
• Appendix 1 Engagement materials used

• Appendix 2 Full list of stakeholders engaged

• Appendix 3 Chronology of the engagement activity

• Appendix 4 Email to stakeholders

• Appendix 5 Internal communication

• Appendix 6 Press release

• Appendix 7 SRG Terms of Reference

• Appendix 8 tCi quality assurance report

• Appendix 9 Summary of responses to stakeholder comments

• Appendix 10 Focus Group feedback report phase 1

• Appendix 11 Questionnaire feedback report phase 1

• Appendix 12 Focus Group feedback report phase 2


Updates will be made widely available in the community and through councils. However, if you would like us to contact you directly please email to with the following information and we will add you to our mailing list:

  • Your name
  • Your postcode
  • Your Email address or postal address

Your information will be used solely for the purpose of corresponding with you about Future Airspace and all details will be destroyed at the end of the consultation period. 


There is currently a range of information available on our web pages that you may like to look at to describe how we operate now and to give you information about the traffic on the routes that are near to you


*The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Manchester Airport and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.