The Sky’s the limit coalition representing airports, airlines and UK air traffic control has welcomed the publication of the Government’s airspace and noise policy as a first-step towards modernising our airspace.

Without redesigning the UK’s network of flight paths and airways, it is feared that it simply won’t cope with the growth in traffic forecast over the coming years, with 3.1 million flights a year expected in the UK by 2030, up from 2 million flights in 2015.

Analysis commissioned by the DfT and carried out by NATS, predicts total delays due to air traffic management could reach 4.4 million minutes by 2030 – that’s 3,100 days of delay and 72 times more than 2015 – if nothing is done.

Martin Rolfe, NATS Chief Executive Officer, speaking on behalf of The Sky’s the limit said: “The Secretary of State for Transport has today restated the overwhelming case for airspace modernisation. It will benefit the economy, through faster journeys and dramatically reducing the risk of future delays as a result of increased capacity, and reduce aviation’s impact on the environment and local communities.

“His welcome words signal strong Government leadership on airspace modernisation and we look forward to supporting the consultation on airspace and noise. It is a critical first step towards achieving modernisation.

“To harness the full potential of airspace modernisation, we need a clear Government framework which addresses areas where there are competing views on the impact of new flightpaths.  Meanwhile the aviation industry is working hard to deliver the necessary technologies and operating procedures to support the modernisation programme.

“The Government’s consultation is the opportunity to get this right and The Sky’s the Limit encourages all stakeholders to respond to the Government’s consultation to ensure their views are heard and we can then get on and deliver the benefits the Secretary of State has so clearly identified.”

The Sky’s the Limit campaign is made up of the Airport Operators Association, BAR UK, Airlines UK, IATA and NATS.