Independent report

Future Aviation Industry Working Group on Airspace Integration problem statement: ‘Future Airspace Integration: Leading the World’


Published by the Future Aviation Industry Working Group on Airspace Integration (FAIWG:AI).

New classes of air vehicles, including drones, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL), and others, represent a huge economic, societal, and environmental opportunity for the UK and the world. This opportunity can be realised, with support, by 2025 and will enable sustainable growth to 2030 and beyond.

Currently the aviation community and industry are throttled in their ability to deliver these benefits because of restrictions of airspace integration.

FAIWG:AI aims to build a plan and delivery strategy by the end of 2022 to address these restrictions, covering:​

  • regulation restrictions:
    • inertia in the development and adoption of new regulation that will enable the safe, secure and environmentally sustainable (assured) operation of new technology
    • an acute lack of resource in the regulator to address the demand from industry for new regulation and supporting guidance on compliance
  • technology restrictions:
    • lack of standardised approaches to the delivery of technology to meet existing and new regulations for these new aviation use cases
    • lack of the supporting built environment, energy, and digital infrastructure to develop and demonstrate this technology
  • operations restrictions:
    • difficulty in beginning operations in integrated airspace because of potential issues with societal and governmental support
    • the availability of personnel and infrastructure to support operations​.

The key regulatory areas of focus to increase regulatory readiness and enable airspace integration are requirements for:​

  • detect and avoid for all new and existing airspace users encompassing conspicuity,​ navigation and communications and spectrum management in integrated airspace
  • clarity of assurance requirements for new use cases integrating into our airspace​
  • ‘‘beyond visual line of sight’ (BVLOS) and autonomous operation of uncrewed systems alongside other air users​.

The key technology areas of focus to enable airspace integration are:​

  • maturity of supporting technology to meet the regulatory requirements for detect and avoid
  • availability of resources for effective testing, demonstration and operations​.

The key operational areas of focus to enable airspace integration are:​

  • demonstration of assured new use cases operating integrated with existing airspace users​
  • societal acceptance of and government support for new use cases​
  • availability of trained personnel to support operations (pilots, air navigation service providers, ground operations).​

This problem statement aims to highlight these key issues to the UK government. It also calls on stakeholders across the aerospace and aviation industries to input into and support the development of a strategy to address the problems.

This strategy, delivered by and through government, will address these problems so that we can deliver safe airspace integration for the future of aviation and unlock the associated economic, societal, and environmental benefits.

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