CAA sets out policy on performance based navigation

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today published proposed policy guidance on Performance-based Navigation (PBN) in UK and Irish Airspace.

The document is a key component of the CAAs Future Airspace Strategy (*), designed to help UK airspace evolve to meet future demands.

The PBN concept was developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and moves aviation away from the traditional use of aircraft navigating by ground based beacons to a system more reliant on airborne technology, including use of global navigation satellite systems. PBN sets the level of accuracy, integrity and availability that the aircrafts navigation systems will have to meet as well as the required functionality. This will allow the implementation of airspace structures that takes advantage of more accurate navigation, meaning that aircraft will be able to fly more direct routes more efficiently, resulting in reduced delays and environmental gains.

The new policy has been developed by an industry group led by the CAA, which includes the Irish Aviation Authority, NATS, MoD, Airport Operators Association, EUROCONTROL and the major UK airlines, reflecting the joint working arrangements within the UK and Irish Functional Airspace Block. It sets the framework around which PBN can be applied as well as providing the regulatory framework to enable Air Navigation Service Providers to implement the system.

The fact that PBN is on the forward path for both the Future Air Traffic Management Concept envisaged by ICAO and the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research programme (SESAR), puts the UK and Ireland at the forefront of change.

The CAA is seeking comments on the policy from stakeholders and interested parties over the next 14 weeks. The document can be found on the CAAs National Air Traffic Management Advisory Committee (NATMAC) home page at:

(*) Over the years, the UKs airspace system has become complex and increasingly difficult to manage as it has been changed to meet different demands.  In order to meet future demand safely and efficiently a radical rethink is required. The CAA, together with the Department for Transport, Ministry of Defence and NATS, is developing a proposal the Future Airspace Strategy - to provide the safest and most efficient airspace possible, reduce delays, which is aligned with European developments and technological changes, reduces the impact of aviation on the environment and balances the needs of all airspace users. The final strategy, which outlines the strategy for UK airspace up to 2030, will be published in June.


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