The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has declared that the size of the Class D airspace within the control of Norwich International Airport will be reduced, following a review. Even though the Control Zone (CTR) and Control Area (CTA) around Norwich were deemed to be working well following their implementation in 2012, the CAA has ruled that the upper level of both will be reduced from FL50 (approx 5,000ft) to 4,000ft. Therefore, the transition altitude above the CTR and CTA will be raised from 3,000ft to 5,000ft.

The change was announced in the CAA’s ‘post implementation review’ of the Norwich CAS which was published today, 6 March 2015.

Norwich International Airport and the CAA are working collaboratively to introduce the revised airspace on 17 September 2015. It will be scheduled with other initiatives being undertaken by the Airport. The airport will be allowed to request the reinstatement of the original upper level if it experiences an increasing need to hold inbound aircraft at higher levels.

The CAA has said that it is satisfied that the Norwich CAS has been beneficial in protecting aircraft in the instrument approach and initial departure phases of flight. However, a change to the vertical dimension of the CAS is operationally possible, although not to the lateral dimension.

Although aircraft that are not radio equipped are excluded from controlled airspace (without prior permission) the impact on the GA community of the Norwich CAS has been minimised, according to the CAA, with NIA meeting the original approval requirements to facilitate transit of the airspace. The lack of any safety related events since the CAS came into force has endorsed this view for the CAA. It tackled suggestions from some respondents to its review that a reduction in movements in 2014 questioned the need for controlled airspace at Norwich.

Phil Roberts, Head of Airspace at the CAA, says: “Protecting the travelling public is at the centre of our decision-making process when we consider an airspace change proposal. Although traffic levels have not matched predicted figures at Norwich since the initial airspace change application was made, they have nevertheless increased every year since the industry-wide drop in 2008.”

In response to the specific issue of gliders being unable to enter the CAS, the CAA said it encouraged pilots of non-radio aircraft to approach Norwich ATC to arrange access.

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