UK CAA approves transitional altitude change for SE England

Following a request from air traffic service provider, NATS, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has approved changes to the Transition Altitude beneath the Worthing and Clacton Control Areas (CTAs) to the east and south of London.
A Transition Altitude is the level at which an aircraft’s height changes from being measured in feet-above-sea level to a ‘Flight Level’. The approved change will harmonise the Transition Altitude level at 6,000ft for both Worthing and Clacton CTAs and align these areas with adjacent controlled airspace. The change does not include the creation of any new controlled airspace or changes to airspace classification. It will mainly affect airspace over the English Channel.
The CAA said its decision would enhance safety in the area by simplifying airspace structures and boundaries and ensuring that all aircraft use the same Transition Altitude, removing possible operational confusion in a very complex piece of airspace. The change is also in line with the CAA’s commitment to harmonise Transition Altitudes inside and outside UK Controlled Airspace. It will also simplify operations below Controlled Airspace in the South East of England ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.
The CAA also pointed out that a major new initiative to raise the Transition Altitude nationally to a much higher level will soon begin its consultation phase. This initiative will enable subsequent redesign of Standard Instrument Departures allowing aircraft improved departure and arrival trajectories. These will have significant environmental benefits due to lower CO2 emissions from reduced fuel burn. It may also increase the airspace available to general aviation.
The CAA’s approval follows a three-month consultation carried out by NATS earlier this year. The changes will take effect from 8 March 2012.

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