Before Manston Airport can reopen as an airfreight hub, new air routes must be approved through a detailed airspace change process set out in the Civil Aviation Publication (CAP) 1616. The airspace change process has now reached Stage 3. In reaching Stage 3, the CAA has confirmed that it is satisfied the airspace change proposal, up to this stage, is in accordance with the CAA’s Airspace Modernisation Strategy and UK Masterplan.

The CAP 1616 process manages any proposed changes to airspace in the UK. The process consists of seven stages, and it provides aviation and community stakeholders with assurance that proposals are robust, can be carefully scrutinised by an independent Regulator and are subject to public and industry consultation.

During Stage 2, RSP and specialist consultants developed a number of options for the flight procedures that will be required when the airport re-opens. These options will now be subject to a full public consultation in early 2023.

Tony Freudmann, Director of RSP said: “The CAA’s Cap 1616 process is rightly very thorough, and I am pleased that we have now satisfied all requirements to enable us to progress to Stage 3, where we can consult in detail with communities adjacent to the airport.

“As we have done with the DCO we will make sure we provide a range of ways and opportunities to take part in the consultation, which will include not only the design options, but also considerations in respect of the forecast number of aircraft that will use the airport, the commitments we have made for restrictions on night-time operations, environmental assessments on issues such as noise, local air quality, biodiversity and other issues of importance to the local community.”

Following the consultation, RSP will be able to submit an airspace procedures proposal to the CAA for consideration, with a decision expected during the course of 2024.