CAA, Development of London 2012 Airspace Restrictions Announced

20th Jul 2011
CAA, Development of London 2012 Airspace Restrictions Announced

A number of changes to the Government’s original proposals, announced on 7 March, have been made following extensive work by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Department for Transport (DfT) and the General Aviation community to assess the impact of the restrictions proposed in March from both an economic and safety perspective. Alongside this security experts have also carried out further analysis of the risks to the Games.

As a result of this improved understanding and work with the aviation community the duration of the full airspace restrictions covering the London 2012 Games has been reduced and will now only cover the Olympic period from 14 July to 15 August 2012. Separate, geographically smaller, airspace restrictions will now cover the London 2012 Paralympic Games from 16 August 2012 to 12 September 2012.

In addition to the restrictions covering the south-east of England, other Games venues throughout the UK will be subject to temporary restrictions notified by NOTAM.

Details of the revised restrictions are now available on the ASI website . Charts illustrating the precise extent of the restrictions are featured on the site, along with details of how pilots can access areas of restricted airspace.

Other changes include:


• A reduction of the north west corner of the Restricted Zone to alleviate congestion in airspace outside the Zone
• A reduction to the south west corner of the Restricted Zone to ease navigation and the operation of the gliding sites at Lasham and Parham
• A change to the south west corner of the Prohibited Zone to allow for transit around the proposed temporary controlled airspace in the Farnborough area and the Farnborough Airshow RA(T)
• Changes to the northern boundary of the Prohibited Zone to allow access to the Golf Course visual reporting point for Elstree Airfield.
• The removal of the restriction on solo student pilots flying cross country in the Restricted Zone
• An exemption to allow flights to/from the existing airfields at White Waltham, Denham, Fairoaks and the London Heliport to access the Restricted Zone from the Prohibited Zone.
• The ability for airfields within three nautical miles of the outer boundary of the Restricted Zone to apply for a three nautical mile radius exemption from the restrictions for those aircraft immediately exiting to, or recovering from, the outer boundary of the Restricted Zone and the airfield. An application form can be found at

The Government has today issued a Written Ministerial Statement announcing the changes

Further information on the air traffic service to be provided in the Restricted Zone has also been announced. As the Government’s air security restrictions require a known air traffic environment within the Restricted Zone, a special dedicated service will be provided by MoD controllers based at NATS’ Swanwick centre. This will be an extensive operation aimed at providing a service to as many users as possible.

However, the requirement to establish a known traffic environment will place a finite limit on the capacity of this service. Accordingly, entry to the airspace will only be permitted once all the regulations to operate in the Restricted Zone have been met and a VFR flight plan (where required) has been filed via AFPEx or AFTN and an approval code has been issued acknowledging receipt and the offer of a service. Aircraft on a continuous flight leaving the restricted area and on an approved flight plan will be guaranteed access back into the area on the return flight.

The MoD and NATS will also be providing a significant enhancement to the AFPEx support and processing team that will include a flight planning reception centre and significant manpower dedicated to the task.

Further details on the LARS and AFPEx support service will be provided later in 2011.

The CAA, NATS, the air navigation service provider, and the Ministry of Defence (MoD), will now work with the aviation community through the Airspace & Safety Initiative* (ASI) to ensure the restrictions are effectively implemented.

CAA Assistant Director of Airspace Policy, Phil Roberts, said: “Since the original proposals were launched in March a significant amount of work has been undertaken by the CAA to look at some of the potential operational issues and by the DfT, with input from the GA community, to further assess the economic impact. The resulting restrictions cover a significantly shorter period and provide more access to airspace for GA. We are committed to working with the GA community to finding effective ways to implement these restrictions and we will be engaging in every way possible to ensure there is a good level of understanding in those parts of the GA community that will be most affected.”

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