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The Australian Airspace Policy Statement provides guidance to the airspace regulator, CASA, on the administration of airspace as a national resource.
Administered by: Infrastructure and Regional Development
Made 28 Jun 2007
Registered 29 Jun 2007
Tabled HR 07 Aug 2007
Tabled Senate 07 Aug 2007
Date of repeal 19 Mar 2014
Repealed by Infrastructure and Regional Development (Spent and Redundant Instruments) Repeal Regulation 2014

 

 

Airspace Act 2007

The Australian Airspace Policy Statement

 

 

I, Mark Anthony James Vaile, Minister for Transport and Regional Services, make the following Australian Airspace Policy Statement, under section 8 of the Airspace Act 2007.

 

Dated                            (28 June)                              2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

(SIGNED)

 

MARK VAILE

 

 


Contents

PART 1 – PRELIMINARY.. 4

1.1       Name of Instrument 4

1.2       Commencement 4

1.3       Definitions. 4

PART 2 – INTRODUCTION.. 5

2.1       Purpose of the Australian Airspace Policy Statement 5

2.2       The Australian Government’s Vision. 5

2.3       The National Airspace System.. 5

2.4       Key Policy Principles for Airspace Administration. 6

PART 3 – DESCRIPTION OF THE CURRENT CLASSIFICATIONS TO BE USED TO ADMINISTER AUSTRALIAN‑ADMINISTERED AIRSPACE.. 7

3.1       International Obligations. 7

3.2       Description of the Breakdown of the Various Airspace Classes. 8

PART 4 –DESCRIPTION OF THE DESIGNATIONS TO BE USED FOR THE PURPOSES OF RESTRICTING ACCESS TO, OR WARNING ABOUT ACCESS TO, PARTICULAR VOLUMES OF AUSTRALIAN‑ADMINISTERED AIRSPACE.. 11

4.1       Categories of Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas. 11

Prohibited Areas. 11

Restricted Areas. 11

Danger Areas. 11

4.2       Process for Declaring and Promulgating Prohibited, Restricted or Danger (PRD) Areas  12

PART 5 –THE PRINCIPLES AND PROCESSES TO BE FOLLOWED FOR CHANGING THE CLASSIFICATIONS OR DESIGNATIONS OF PARTICULAR VOLUMES OF AUSTRALIAN‑ADMINISTERED AIRSPACE.. 13

5.1       Key General Principles for Airspace Administration. 13

Safety: 13

Efficient use of airspace is a benefit to the aviation sector and the Australian economy: 13

Protection of the environment from the effects of, and associated with, the operation and use of aircraft: 13

Access to airspace will be open to all users unless there are justifiable reasons to deny access in terms of safety, efficiency, environmental protection or national security: 13

Airspace administration will take account of national security: 13

5.2       The National Airspace System (NAS) 13

5.3       The role of CASA in airspace change. 14

5.4       The Office of Airspace Regulation. 15

5.5       How major changes to airspace will be made. 15

5.6       Priority for the Protection of Air Transport Passengers. 15

5.7       Airspace architecture design principles. 16

5.8       The role of the Common Risk Management Framework. 17

5.9       Decision-making practices of the Office of Airspace Regulation. 17

Transparency and cooperation. 17

Notification process. 17

5.10     The role of Defence in airspace change. 18

PART 6 – GOVERNMENT PRIORITIES FOR THE CIVIL AVIATION SAFETY AUTHORITY   19

6.1       Implemented NAS Characteristics. 19

6.2       NAS Characteristics – NAS Stage 3. 19

6.3       Class D – Regional aerodrome aeronautical study programme. 19

6.4       Proactive Ongoing Assessment 20

6.5       NAS Characteristics – Special Use Airspace. 20

6.6       The introduction of systems and technologies that enhance the safety and performance of Australia’s airspace system.. 21

Glossary of Definitions. 22

Referenced Documents. 24

 


PART 1 – PRELIMINARY

 

1.1          Name of Instrument

This instrument is the Australian Airspace Policy Statement.

1.2          Commencement

The Australian Airspace Policy Statement commences on 1 July 2007.

1.3          Definitions

Expressions used in the Australian Airspace Policy Statement are defined in the Glossary of Definitions at the end of the Statement.


PART 2 – INTRODUCTION

2.1          Purpose of the Australian Airspace Policy Statement

This Australian Airspace Policy Statement is made pursuant to Part 2 of the Airspace Act 2007 (the Act), which came into effect on 1 July 2007.  It provides guidance to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), as airspace regulator, on the administration of airspace as a national resource.  As provided for by Section 11A of the Civil Aviation Act (1988), CASA must exercise its powers and perform its functions in a manner consistent with this Policy Statement.  The Statement is also intended to provide guidance for industry and other agencies about future directions.

2.2          The Australian Government’s Vision

Aviation is integral to Australia’s economy and its links to the rest of the world.  Australia manages and provides air traffic services to eleven per cent of the airspace over the earth’s surface.  Aviation relies on safe and efficient airspace administration and regulation.

The Australian Government is committed to a world-leading system of aviation for Australia, including arrangements for airspace administration that will:

  • ensure that Australian airspace is administered and used safely;
  • ensure that Australian airspace is used efficiently and that, where possible, there is equitable access to our airspace for all users of that airspace;
  • meet Australia’s obligations as a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);
  • be recognised as world’s best practice; and
  • best meet Australia’s needs.

ICAO's global Air Traffic Management Operational Concept is the international vision for an integrated, harmonised and globally interoperable Air Traffic Management system up to and beyond the year 2025.  Australia will participate in the implementation of this global Operational Concept – with a view to ensuring safe, secure and efficient aviation.

In doing so, Australia will take full account of the availability of new technologies, and will also adopt better processes for assessing the implementation of technologies and changes to airspace arrangements.  This will be through better analysis – including of risks and costs and benefits – and enhanced consultation with stakeholders. 

2.3                    The National Airspace System

In 2002 the Australian Government instituted a reform process where Australian airspace management would be modelled on the US National Airspace System (NAS).  This was to align our airspace classification system with the ICAO system and also to model our system on the proven US system.  

The National Airspace System changes have brought benefits to aviation in Australia, and the Government remains committed to its reform objectives, particularly greater flexibility and the allocation of air traffic management services on the basis of risk.

 


 

2.4                    Key Policy Principles for Airspace Administration

Key principles have been developed to guide the administration of airspace as a national resource.  They are:

·        safety of Passenger Transport operations is the most important consideration;

·        efficient use of airspace is a benefit to the aviation sector and the Australian economy;

·        protection of the environment is of concern to all Australians;

·        access to airspace will be open to all users unless there are justifiable reasons to deny access in terms of safety, efficiency, environmental protection or national security; and

·        airspace administration will take account of national security.

CASA will need to take these principles into account in carrying out its airspace regulation activities.  Further details are provided in Part 5 of this Statement.

Part 6 of this Statement sets out Government airspace reform priorities for CASA to pursue.

 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  

 

The Australian Airspace Policy Statement is the blueprint for the future administration of a critical national asset – airspace – and brings together current Policy together with existing and planned initiatives to meet the demands of airspace users.

 


PART 3 – DESCRIPTION OF THE CURRENT CLASSIFICATIONS TO BE USED TO ADMINISTER AUSTRALIAN‑ADMINISTERED AIRSPACE

3.1          International Obligations

As a signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention), Australia will continue to comply with the Standards and Recommended Practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), notified in Annexes to the Convention in accordance with Article 37, or will lodge a difference with ICAO in accordance with Article 38 of the Convention.

ICAO allocates international airspace to its member States, including Australia, to be administered by those member States along with their sovereign airspace.  States may divide the airspace they administer into Flight Information Regions (FIRs).

All airspace allocated to Australia by ICAO, as well as Australian sovereign airspace, is covered by two FIRs.  The diagram below illustrates the airspace administered by Australia and how it has been separated into two FIRs (Brisbane and Melbourne) for administration[1].  This diagram also includes an illustration of the current radar coverage provided at 30,000 ft in Australian administered airspace.

Approx 5000 NM

 

Melbourne FIR

 

Radar Coverage at 30, 000 feet

 

Brisbane FIR

 

Diagram 1: Australian-administered airspace: Flight Information Regions and Radar Coverage


3.2          Description of the Breakdown of the Various Airspace Classes

Annex 11 of the Chicago Convention describes seven classifications of airspace and their associated level of service from Class A to Class G.  The appropriate classification for a particular volume of airspace is determined by the level of service required to manage the traffic safely and efficiently.

The classification assigned to each volume of airspace determines two factors: the category of flights permitted in that volume of airspace and the level of air traffic service provided for those flights.  There are two categories of flight: Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flights; and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flights.

The airspace classification system in use in Australia is summarised in the table below[2].  Australia applies the ICAO classification system, with minor variations as detailed.  Variations have been notified to ICAO in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Chicago Convention.

 

Class

Type of flight

Separation provided

Service provided

Speed limitation

Radio communication requirement

Subject to an ATC clearance

Australian

Differences to ICAO

A

IFR

All aircraft

Air traffic control service

Not applicable

Continuous two-way

Yes

No differences

VFR not permitted

B

IFR

All aircraft

Air traffic control service

Not applicable

Continuous two-way

Yes

Not currently used in Australia

VFR

All aircraft

Air traffic control service

Not applicable

Continuous two-way

Yes

Not currently used in Australia

C

IFR

IFR from IFR

IFR from VFR

IFR from Special VFR

Air traffic control service

Not applicable

Continuous two-way

Yes

Also separate IFR from Special VFR[3]

VFR

VFR from IFR

1.     Air traffic control service for separation from IFR;

2.     VFR/VFR traffic information (and traffic avoidance advice on request)

250 kt IAS below 10, 000 FT AMSL

Continuous two-way

Yes

No differences

 

Special VFR

Special VFR from Special VFR

Air traffic control service when visibility less than VMC

250 kt IAS below          10, 000 FT AMSL

Continuous two-way

Yes

 

D

IFR

IFR from IFR

IFR from Special VFR

 

Air traffic control service, traffic information about VFR flights (and traffic avoidance advice on request)

250 kt IAS below 10, 000 FT AMSL

Continuous two-way

Yes

Also separate IFR from Special VFR

 

VFR

Nil

Air traffic control service, traffic information on all other flights (and traffic avoidance advice on request)

250 kt IAS below 10 000 FT AMSL

Continuous two-way

Yes

 

Provide ATC service to all aircraft landing and taking off at controlled aerodromes

 

Special VFR

Special VFR from Special VFR

Air traffic control service when visibility less than VMC

250 kt IAS below          10, 000 FT AMSL

Continuous two-way

Yes

Special VFR category

 

All flights

Taking off and/or landing at controlled aerodromes

Air traffic control service

250 kt IAS below          10, 000 FT AMSL

Continuous two-way

Yes

Additional service

GAAP

CTR

IFR

In IMC:

IFR from IFR

IFR from VFR

Air traffic control service

250 kt IAS

Continuous two-way

Yes

Additional service

VFR

Nil

Air traffic control service

250 kt IAS

Continuous two-way

Yes

Additional service

E

IFR

IFR from IFR

Air traffic control service and, as far as practical, traffic information on VFR flights

250 kt IAS below 10, 000 FT AMSL

Continuous two-way

 

Yes

Mandatory transponder carriage and operation

VFR

Nil

Flight Information Service

250 kt IAS below 10, 000 FT AMSL

Continuous two-way

 

No

Mandatory transponder carriage and operation.  Also provide FIS in addition to traffic information

Continuous two-way radio is required

F

IFR

IFR from IFR as far as practical

Air traffic advisory service; flight information service

250 kt IAS below 10, 000FT AMSL

Continuous two-way

No

Not currently used in Australia

VFR

Nil

Flight information service

250 kt IAS below 10, 000FT AMSL

No

No

Not currently used in Australia

G

IFR

Nil

Flight information service and mandatory directed traffic information to IFR flights about other IFR flights

250 kt IAS below 10, 000FT AMSL

Continuous two-way

No

Provision of mandatory directed traffic information.

VFR

Nil

Flight information service

250 kt IAS below 10, 000 FT AMSL

No, except VFR radio required for operations above 5,000 FT AMSL and at aerodromes where carriage and use of radio is required.  Also required in reduced VMC.

No

Also require VHF radio above 5,000 FT and at CTAF(R) aerodromes and in reduced VMC.

 

Airspace organisation in Australia is aligned with the ICAO menu of airspace classifications and associated levels of service.  The Australian Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) provides detail on how these classifications are deployed in Australia.

Variations from the ICAO classifications in Australia are briefly explained below:

·        inclusion of a Special VFR flight category;

·        provision of an air traffic control separation service to aircraft landing and taking off at airports in Class D airspace;

·        provision of a Flight Information Service for VFR aircraft operating in Class E airspace. Two way radio communications and mandatory transponder carriage and operation are a requirement for operations in Australian Class E airspace;

·        inclusion of an additional air traffic control procedure termed General Aviation Airport Procedures (GAAP), used in Class D airspace.  Air traffic control procedures at specified GAAP airports are specifically designed to handle large numbers of VFR operations;

·        inclusion of more stringent radio communications requirements in Australian Class G airspace where VFR aircraft are required to have two-way radio communication capability for operations above 5,000 feet and at airports requiring a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency or CTAF(R); and

·        speed limitations are not applicable to military aircraft when operating below 10,000 feet in Class C, D, E and G airspace.

In Australia Class A airspace is high–level enroute airspace and Class C generally surrounds major city airports starting at ground level and stepped up into mid-level Class C or the high level Class A airspace.  However, much of Australian airspace is not controlled and thus classified as Class G.

The Australian Designated Airspace Handbook (DAH), which is published as part of the Australian AIP, contains accurate details of the actual Australian airspace architecture.

PART 4 –DESCRIPTION OF THE DESIGNATIONS TO BE USED FOR THE PURPOSES OF RESTRICTING ACCESS TO, OR WARNING ABOUT ACCESS TO, PARTICULAR VOLUMES OF AUSTRALIAN‑ADMINISTERED AIRSPACE

From July 2007, CASA as the airspace regulator has the power to designate volumes of airspace for the purpose of restricting access to, or warning about access to, that airspace.  These powers relate specifically to the declaration of airspace in which a potential hazard to aircraft operations may exist, and all areas in which the operation of aircraft may be restricted.

4.1          Categories of Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas

Australia has adopted the ICAO designations described in Annex 15, Appendix 1, of the Chicago Convention for accommodating activities that may be incompatible with routine flying operations.  This may see airspace designated as a Prohibited, Restricted or Danger (PRD) Area, described as follows:

Prohibited Areas

The declaration of a Prohibited Area creates airspace within which the flight of aircraft is prohibited. 

Restricted Areas

The declaration of a Restricted Area creates an airspace of defined dimensions within which the flight of aircraft is restricted in accordance with specified conditions. Clearances to fly within an active Restricted Area or airspace are generally only withheld when activities hazardous to the aircraft are taking place, or when military activities require absolute priority.

Restricted Areas are mainly declared over areas where military operations occur.  However, Restricted Areas have also been declared to cater for communications and space tracking operations or to control access to emergency or disaster areas.

Restricted Areas are generally promulgated at specified times and dates.  For example, a temporary restricted area may be declared for special events where there may be a public safety issue ‑ such as the Avalon Air Show or the Commonwealth Games.

Danger Areas

The declaration of a Danger Area defines airspace within which activities dangerous to the flight of aircraft may exist at specified times.  Approval for flight within a Danger Area outside controlled airspace is not required.  However, pilots are expected to maintain a higher level of vigilance in that airspace.

Danger Areas are primarily established to alert aircraft on the following:

  • Flying training areas where student pilots are learning to fly and/or gather in large numbers;
  • Gliding areas where communications with airborne gliders might be difficult;
  • Blasting on the ground at mine sites;
  • Parachute operations;
  • Gas discharge plumes; and
  • Small arms fire from rifle ranges.

4.2          Process for Declaring and Promulgating Prohibited, Restricted or Danger (PRD) Areas

It is expected that the authority responsible for the activity that may be a potential hazard to aviation activity will bring the request to declare an area as a PRD to CASA.

Once aware of the application for a PRD, CASA will:

·        ensure that it has all the information it requires to assess the application;

·        undertake an appropriate risk and hazard analysis on the request, including the degree of hazard to normal aviation operations; and

·        as appropriate, declare the area as PRD in accordance with airspace design standards as specified in the Airspace Regulations.  When declaring a PRD Area CASA will:

o       specify the lateral and vertical boundaries of the PRD area;

o       specify the hours of activation for the PRD area;

o       appoint a controlling authority that will be responsible for the activity and for conditions of access to the PRD area;

o       determine the level of air traffic services to be provided to civilian aircraft operating in the PRD area, both when the area is active and non-active; and

o       ensure that adequate information and advice is made available to airspace users that the PRD is to be put in place and the conditions in which it is activated.

CASA is required to promulgate the declaration of PRD areas through the Australian AIP.

Defence needs access to airspace to meet its specific operational requirements and for national security reasons and has powers that can affect airspace.  It is also an air navigation service provider in its own right. 

 


PART 5 –THE PRINCIPLES AND PROCESSES TO BE FOLLOWED FOR CHANGING THE CLASSIFICATIONS OR DESIGNATIONS OF PARTICULAR VOLUMES OF AUSTRALIAN‑ADMINISTERED AIRSPACE

5.1          Key General Principles for Airspace Administration

In addition to the matters set out in section 12 of the Airspace Act 2007, the Government expects CASA, in the administration and regulation of Australian-administered airspace, to take into account the following principles: 

Safety:

Subsection 9A (1) of the Civil Aviation Act (1988) requires that:

in exercising its powers and performing its functions, CASA must regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration.

In giving effect to this requirement, the Government expects the safe operation of Passenger Transport operations to be the first priority in airspace administration.

Efficient use of airspace is a benefit to the aviation sector and the Australian economy:

Australian airspace administration is to be geared towards the development of a national system designed to deliver efficiencies for all airspace users.

Protection of the environment from the effects of, and associated with, the operation and use of aircraft:

Airspace, as far as practicable, should be administered in a manner that contributes to the protection of the environment by reducing the impact of noise, gaseous emissions and other environmental issues consistent with the other policy objectives set by the Australian Government.

Access to airspace will be open to all users unless there are justifiable reasons to deny access in terms of safety, efficiency, environmental protection or national security:

Airspace is a finite resource with competing demands.  In high density areas and other areas where not all demands for access can be met, airspace administration needs to assist in equitable access.  Any restriction on access to airspace should be justified.

Airspace administration will take account of national security:

National security refers to Australia’s defence, security, international relations or law, coupled with the need to protect the Air Traffic Management system.  Decision making on the allocation of airspace should recognise the national security imperative that the Defence forces have access to airspace on suitable terms.  Decision making should also recognise the link between national security and safety. 

5.2                    The National Airspace System (NAS)

The Government is committed to seeing the best possible airspace system implemented for Australia: an airspace system that will meet Australia’s international obligations as a member of ICAO, and an airspace system that aligns with world’s best practice and most importantly an airspace system that best ensures the development of our aviation industry.

The Australian Government remains committed to aligning Australian airspace management to the ICAO system and the National Airspace System (NAS) model.

Future stages of the NAS will be implemented subject to the results of an enhanced analytical process, including cost–benefit and the single common risk management framework.  Future NAS reforms are to involve close consultation with the aviation industry and take account of the impact of upcoming technological developments.  The analysis will take account of developments in the airspace regimes of other jurisdictions, including within the United States and the European Union, to challenge our systems and approaches, and to help decide future changes in Australia.

5.3                    The role of CASA in airspace change

CASA has sole responsibility under the Act for the declaration, classification and designation of all Australian-administered airspace.

In accordance with the Act, the Government expects CASA to undertake a range of activities aimed at ensuring Australian airspace remains safe, while also seeking benefits in terms of efficiency and the environment, and taking account of equitable access and national security.

The Government expects CASA to adopt a proactive approach to assessing the Australian airspace system and its operations, and to identify and pursue reform opportunities.  CASA is also responsible for the development and delivery of training and education to enhance airspace safety and efficiency.

It is expected that CASA will undertake regular and ongoing reviews[4] to ensure that it meets its obligations as a proactive airspace regulator under Section 13 of the Act.  As a minimum these reviews should cover:

  • existing classifications of volumes of Australian-administered airspace, including PRD areas, in order to determine whether those classifications are appropriate and remain appropriate for the traffic mix and density in each particular volume of airspace;
  • existing services and facilities provided by air navigation service providers (ANSPs) in relation to particular volumes of Australian-administered airspace in order to determine whether those services and facilities remain appropriate; and

·        regular reviews of Australian-administered airspace in general and as specific issues arise, in order to identify risk management factors and to ensure overall consistency with Government objectives, international developments and system safety, efficiency, equity of access, environmental protection and national security.

The expectation that CASA conduct these regular reviews is additional to processes that CASA may put in place to satisfy itself that delegations it makes under subsection 11(8) of the Act are being used appropriately.

In developing, assessing and promoting significant airspace reform proposals, CASA should adopt best practice risk management and cost:benefit analyses and give attention to the practicalities of implementation.  Effective stakeholder consultation is critical.

 

5.4          The Office of Airspace Regulation

CASA will exercise its airspace authority through an Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR), which will be a distinct operational unit.  The OAR will focus on an outcomes-based approach to airspace regulation and will have the decision-making powers for airspace design, classification and designation. 

The Government expects CASA to establish a work programme that is inclusive of the Government’s priorities for airspace reform to progress NAS implementation as outlined in this Statement.  Once the programme is established the Government requires CASA to report to the Minister on an annual basis on the achievements of its airspace work programme as well as the proposed work programme for the year ahead.

5.5          How major changes to airspace will be made

Changes to airspace of a major nature will be made after a series of steps aimed at ensuring international best practice is followed.  These steps will include:

·        risk management analysis consistent with the CASA Risk Management System and the Common Risk Management Framework (see below);

·        an assessment of the potential costs and benefits of the proposed change;

·        inclusive consultation with stakeholders; and

·        ensuring consistency with Government policy as expressed in this Policy Statement.

This process will ensure that proposals for change are rigorously tested before they are implemented, that safety of air navigation remains the most important consideration, that the case for change will be properly tested and justified, and that opportunities are explored to deliver benefits through greater efficiency, environmental protection, equity of access and national security.

Proposals may be made by stakeholders for changes in airspace classification or designation.  For example, an ANSP may identify the need for a change in airspace arrangements to address a safety issue that they may have identified through their ongoing monitoring program or to achieve air traffic management imperatives.  If so, the Government expects CASA to exercise its judgement[5] in considering such proposals to ensure that airspace is administered appropriately and will expect the OAR to ensure that all major proposals for change are supported by proper analysis.  CASA may ask the proponent to lead the conduct of the analysis in appropriate cases.

5.6          Priority for the Protection of Air Transport Passengers

By far the great majority of people who travel by air are fare–paying airline passengers, or are travelling on charter aircraft.  These people are not generally able to make informed independent judgements about the safety of operators and place trust in other parties, including airlines, airports and regulatory agencies.  They have an expectation that air travel will not involve a significant level of personal risk. 

The Government expects CASA to place the safe and efficient operation of Passenger Transport services as its first priority in airspace administration. 

The Government would expect that all aircraft operating in the vicinity of aerodromes in Class G serviced by a significant number of passenger transport aircraft, particularly high speed or high capacity aircraft, will operate within a mandated radio (or other means of alert) environment.  It is appropriate that CASA’s risk management processes for passenger carrying aircraft operations include an assessment at each location of whether additional procedures and measures to provide “alerted see and avoid” are warranted.  In doing so, CASA should consider the full range of options for alert to assist “see and avoid” to adequately mitigate the risk to passenger transport operations at that location. 

5.7          Airspace architecture design principles

The following high level principles provide the framework for the declaration, classification and designation of all Australian administered airspace:

  • the safety of passenger transport operations is the most important consideration;
  • the application of airspace classifications and associated procedures with minimal exception from the ICAO prescription and Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and standardisation and harmonisation with international best practice architecture;
  • Class G will be the default airspace unless there is a justified need for a higher level of service;
  • the maximisation of IFR/IFR separation services and protection of IFR operations;
  • the facilitation of VFR within the system to the degree necessary to manage system risk and safety;
  • the simplification wherever possible of airspace architecture and procedures. Airspace and procedures design must be simple and logical and supported by comprehensive training and education programmes;
  • the minimisation of frequency congestion on control frequencies and systems which simplify frequency requirements for all airspace users;
  • the fitment and use of radio, transponders and Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS)[6] to minimise risk to passenger transport operations, as a defence against systemic failures, is to be encouraged and where necessary mandated;
  • the enhancement of situational awareness to be provided by third party traffic advice, pilot reports or electronic means;
  • the risk based maximisation of air traffic services in the critical stages of flight ie the terminal area where passenger transport operations are taking place; and
  • requiring pilots to apply vigilance and airmanship when operating in the airspace architecture.

5.8          The role of the Common Risk Management Framework[7]

The Common Risk Management Framework provides a structured set of processes, techniques and reporting through which risks can be evaluated rigorously.  This risk management framework will be a basis for risk assessment work, and associated advice to the Minister.  Its use will be with the aim of providing greater consistency and transparency in decision making and advice, and greater confidence in these processes.

The use of the Common Risk Management Framework will be backed by enhanced consultative processes between the Aviation agencies so as to promote continued improvement in risk management processes and methodologies, and to ensure cooperative processes.

CASA must utilise a risk management based assessment methodology to decide the appropriate classification, designation and allocation of Australian administered airspace. CASA will maintain a risk management system which is premised on the concept of As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) and conforms to AS/NZS4360.

5.9          Decision-making practices of the Office of Airspace Regulation

Transparency and cooperation

While CASA has the responsibility of ensuring appropriate practices are adopted in decision-making, the Government expects the processes for assessing and making changes to volumes of airspace to be characterised by openness.  This may involve publishing the proposals, the results of analysis, and draft decisions with respect to major airspace reforms with a call for public comment where that would assist in informing the decision-making process.

The Government also expects CASA to publish relevant material on its approach to decision making, including with respect to cost:benefit analysis and risk management.  It is also expected that CASA will review this material in consultation with interested parties to ensure its ongoing relevance.  This process may include workshops with interested parties to review existing material, how it is constructed and presented, and the way in which it may be improved.

Other aviation agencies are expected to cooperate with CASA in the performance of its functions, including risk modelling and advice on broader policy and process.

Notification process

CASA should advise proponents of its decision and associated assessment, including whether further work is required.  If, once having followed the processes outlined above, the decision is to proceed with an airspace change, that change would be formalised in a legislative instrument, endorsed by the airspace delegate and promulgated in the Aeronautical Information Publication.

CASA is also to provide written advice to the Minister of all decisions made with respect to airspace changes of a major or potentially-major nature.

 

5.10        The role of Defence in airspace change

Defence needs access to airspace to meet its specific operational requirements and for national security reasons and has powers that can affect airspace. It is also an air navigation service provider in its own right.

To meet the needs of both civilian and Defence users of airspace it is the Government’s policy that there will be an integrated civilian/military airspace management regime at the national level.  This integration will facilitate a unified airspace system aimed at delivering benefits to both civilian and military users, and ensure that there will not be conflicting regulatory requirements from differing branches of the Commonwealth.

While this Statement does not impose obligations upon Defence in relation to the decisions it takes, both Defence and CASA have undertaken to work closely together to ensure that the decisions each authority takes are closely coordinated.  Close coordination of civilian and Defence airspace requirements is to be facilitated under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CASA and Defence, assisted by:

  • placement of Defence officers within the Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR) to work as OAR officers, but also holding delegated powers under Defence legislation.  This will help ensure that decisions on Defence needs for access to airspace are met through the one regulatory body; and
  • close strategic and policy coordination between the heads of the Aviation agencies.

The working relationship between CASA and Defence will develop according to the following agreed principles:

  • national airspace needs to be managed as a single entity and Commonwealth agencies involved in airspace management will work together to ensure that safety, national security, environmental protection, efficiency and access objectives are met; and
  • the civil and military airspace design and operation must be integrated at the strategic level, and in the operations of the OAR.

PART 6 – GOVERNMENT PRIORITIES FOR THE CIVIL AVIATION SAFETY AUTHORITY

The Government remains committed to the National Airspace System reform objectives, particularly greater flexibility and the allocation of air traffic management services on the basis of risk.

The Government has determined a number of NAS airspace reform priorities that it wishes CASA to pursue over the period 1 July 2007 to 31 December 2008.  In line with the Statement of Expectations issued to CASA on 12 March 2007, CASA is to develop a detailed implementation programme for these reform priorities for submission to the Minister by 30 September 2007.  CASA’s implementation programme is also to have regard to industry expectations and to the ability of CASA to adequately resource both the policy review and implementation phases.

6.1          Implemented NAS Characteristics

Seventeen NAS Characteristics have already been implemented in Stage 1 and Stages 2a, 2b, 2c and the additional June 2005 stage.

The Government requires CASA to monitor and review compliance with implemented NAS characteristics, and to determine and implement appropriate further education and training to promote airspace safety and efficiency. 

CASA is to work with the Department of Transport and Regional Services to complete the Post Implementation Review of NAS 2(c) – Operations at Non-Towered Aerodromes and to implement the agreed regulatory changes.  In particular, the criteria for the establishment and dis-establishment of CTAF(R) aerodromes or other suitable means of mandatory compliance are to be finalised and put in place by November 2007.

6.2          NAS Characteristics – NAS Stage 3

The Government is committed to ongoing airspace reform and to implementing the remaining NAS characteristics.  CASA is to undertake by June 2008 the assessment of the following NAS 3(b) Characteristics, and determine as appropriate an implementation programme according to the outcome of the analytical and consultative process outlined in Part 5 of this Statement.

25 – Low level Class E corridors: this NAS characteristic deals with low level Class E corridors, where required, above 1,200FT Above Ground Level (AGL) and above 8,500FT AGL.

44 – Non-radar Class E to base of FL145: under this characteristic the base of Class E could be lowered to FL145 in less dense airspace within Australian territorial limits.

23 – Class E Terminal Airspace: Class E terminal airspace to be introduced at specific locations.   

In consultation with Airservices Australia, CASA should also ensure that an assessment is made of extending air traffic control services to areas that are served by radar but in which no air traffic control service is currently provided.

6.3          Class D – Regional aerodrome aeronautical study programme

The Government expects that high priority will be given to a review of the air traffic services and facilities and airspace classifications over ten Australian regional aerodromes - Alice Springs, Hobart, Launceston, Mackay, Rockhampton, Maroochydore, Coffs Harbour, Hamilton Island, Tamworth and Albury.  The Government asks CASA to work with Airservices Australia to assess the airspace classifications above those aerodromes and any additional surveillance requirements which enhance safety and efficiency of operations. The assessment should be done against the background of the Government commitment to the NAS objective of introducing US model Class E airspace over Class D locations.  The assessment should include NAS Characteristics 7, 16, 17 and 18.

6.4          Proactive Ongoing Assessment

The Government asks CASA draw up and implement a Programme of Aeronautical Studies to meet its obligations under Section 13 of the Airspace Act 2006.  This will establish a priority order for airspace requiring an assessment of aviation activity to determine the appropriate airspace classifications, service and facilities.

This work should draw on and complement the Airservices Australia aerodrome risk management assessment processes and studies.

If any unacceptable risks are identified through this or any other process, CASA should act quickly to address those risks.   

6.5          NAS Characteristics – Special Use Airspace

CASA should set up a Programme with Defence to assess and consider implementation of the following NAS Characteristics:

36 – Change from Danger to Alert areas.

37 – Rationalisation of Military Restricted airspace.

38 – Warning areas replace Restricted Areas.

39 – Establishment of Military Operating Areas.

40 – Military Training Routes.

48 – Introduction of Controlled Firing Areas.

This analysis should be done in close cooperation with Defence.  If in conducting the analysis it appears that the proposals are not likely to pass cost:benefit or risk analysis tests, the Office of Airspace Regulation should explore other means of achieving enhanced flexibility in the use of Australian airspace – including by reference to the ICAO Operational Concept and other jurisdictions’ approaches to flexible use airspace – that may deliver net benefits to Australia.

 


6.6          The introduction of systems and technologies that enhance the safety and performance of Australia’s airspace system

The Government has considered the strategies identified by ICAO as appropriate for the implementation of its Global ATM Operational Concept and has decided that the following initiatives will have priority in Australia:

  • Examination and implementation of technologies that can deliver safer and more efficient use of Australian-administered airspace, through enhanced surveillance capabilities, in particular Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technologies, including the appropriate augmentation system for Australia.
  • Further integration of the civil and military airspace functions, which will see improved coordination and cooperation between Airservices and Defence in the delivery of air traffic control services. This process was initiated by Airservices and Defence by the development of the Integrated Operating Concept (IOC) and Project GENESIS;

o              An IOC was agreed between the Royal Australian Air Force and Airservices in May 2005 with the aim of pursuing a range of joint initiatives that will benefit both organisations and contribute to the shared vision of a single national Air Traffic Management system;

o              Project GENESIS was formally established in December 2005 as one aspect of the IOC.  It aims to achieve closer integration, cooperation and coordination between Defence and Airservices while pursuing opportunities to achieve economic and operational benefits for both organisations through a series of joint initiatives that will increase efficiency and flexibility while reducing duplication.  Government policy is that this program continues to be progressed. 

  • Implementation of airspace management tools, including the development of Flexible Use Airspace, which is intended to maximise the use of airspace to support military and civil operations without rigid airspace segregation while reinforcing the Government’s commitment to one airspace;

 


Glossary of Definitions

ADS-B

Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast

Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP)

A publication issued by or with the authority of a State and containing aeronautical information of a lasting character essential to air navigation

Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP)

An entity certified to provide services in allocated airspace

Airservices

Airservices Australia

Alerted see and avoid

A procedure where flight crew, having been alerted (usually by radio communications) to the existence and approximate location of other traffic in their immediate vicinity, seek to sight and avoid colliding with those known aircraft (ATSB definition).

ATC

Air Traffic Control

ATSB

Australian Transport Safety Bureau

Australian administered airspace

Australian administered airspace is made up of the following components: the airspace over Australian territory; airspace that has been allocated by ICAO and for which Australia has accepted responsibility; and airspace administered by Australia at the request of another country.

Australian airspace architecture

The structure of Australian administered airspace, including the service levels applied to each particular volume of airspace within that structure

Aviation agencies

Department of Transport and Regional Services, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Airservices Australia and Defence

CASA

Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Chicago Convention

Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944)

CNS

Communications, Navigation and Surveillance

CTAF(R)

Common Traffic Advisory Frequency – pilot position reports mandatory

Defence

Australian Defence Force – airspace interests.  Not limited to the Royal Australian Air Force but Defence airspace interests are usually represented by the Chief of Air Force

Designated Airspace Handbook (DAH)

The DAH is a publication issued on an alternating approximate 24/28 week cycle. The DAH lists, in tabular form, the lateral and vertical limits and other pertinent details of airspace types in Australian-administered airspace.

Efficiency

 

 

FIR

Efficiency in this context encompasses minimising the total resource costs of achieving a given outcome, or maximising outcomes from a given level of total resource costs.  In so doing, it encompasses the cost-effectiveness of gate-to-gate flight operations.

Flight Information Region.  ICAO definition: “Airspace where flight information services, advice and information useful for the safe and efficient conduct of flights, and alerting services, services to notify appropriate organisations regarding aircraft in need of search and rescue aid, and assist such organisations as required, will be provided”

GNSS

Global Navigation Satellite System

ICAO

International Civil Aviation Organization

IFR

Instrument Flight Rules

Integrated Operating Concept (IOC)

A framework for developing the integration of Australia’s military and civil Air Traffic Management systems.

Major airspace change

A major airspace change seeks to change Australia’s Airspace Architecture or the way in which Australia currently deploys the ICAO airspace classifications and airspace design standards.

Minor airspace change

A minor airspace change is one which is not major.  For example a change to the lateral or vertical boundaries of an existing volume of airspace or a temporary designation of airspace.

Minister

The Minister for Transport and Regional Services

NAS

The National Airspace System used in the United States and which has been adopted as the model for reform of the Australian airspace system since 2002.

NOTAM

A notice distributed by means of telecommunication containing information concerning the establishment, condition or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations. (Chicago Convention Annex 15).

OAR

Office of Airspace Regulation (a unit within the Civil Aviation Safety Authority)

Passenger Transport

The combination of passenger carrying activities of regular public transport (airlines) and charter operations

Proponent

An entity proposing a change to the airspace architecture

SARP

Standards and Recommended Practices (of ICAO)

TCAS

Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System

VFR

Visual Flight Rules

VMC

Visual Meteorological Conditions

 


Referenced Documents

 

This section provides information on documents that are referred to in the Policy Statement and information on how to access the documents.

 

 

1          Convention on International Civil Aviation 1944 – the Chicago Convention

 

Australia has ratified this treaty.  The authorised text can be accessed in a number of ways:

 

The treaties web site of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – www.dfat.gov.au or http://www.dfat.gov.au/treaties/index.html  

The Chicago Convention is incorporated as Schedule 1 to the Air Navigation Act 1920 available from a variety of sites:

-           the ComLaw web site - http://www.comlaw.gov.au/

-           the web site of the Department of Transport & Regional Services www.dotars.gov.au or http://www.dotars.gov.au/department/dotars/legislation.aspx

The Chicago Convention may also be downloaded from the web site of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) at http://www.icao.int/ or http://www.icao.int/icao/en/download.htm#Docs

 

2          Annexes to the Chicago Convention

 

Article 37 of the Chicago Convention empowers ICAO to adopt standards and recommended practices in relation to a range of aviation safety issues and other matters concerned with the safety, regularity, and efficiency of air navigation as may from time to time appear appropriate.  These standards and recommended practices are promulgated by ICAO in Annexes to the Convention.  Article 38 requires contracting States that do not comply with the standards and recommended practices to notify a difference to ICAO.

 

Copies of the Annexes to the Chicago Convention can be obtained:

 

From ICAO – go to http://www.icao.int/eshop/index.html or http://icaodsu.openface.ca/wheretobuy.ch2 or from most public libraries

 

3          Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP)

 

Annex 15 of the Chicago Convention requires each State to publish an Aeronautical Information Publication – as part of the Integrated Aeronautical Information Package (IAIP).  The IAIP consists of a number of documents that are important for the safety and regularity of air navigation.  Included in the IAIP is the AIP Book, the AIP Supplement and Aeronautical Information Circulars (AIC), Departure and Approach Procedures (DAP) and the En Route Supplement Australia (ERSA).

 

The IAIP, and all related documents, is available by subscription from Airservices Australia.  These documents are also available for viewing over the internet from http://www.airservices.gov.au/publications/aip.asp

 

 

 

4          Common Risk Management Framework

 

The Common Risk Management Framework is a document agreed between CASA, Airservices Australia, the Department of Transport and Regional Services and Defence (Royal Australian Air Force) that will be a basis for risk assessment work, and associated advice to the Minister on airspace.  The Framework provides a structured set of processes, techniques and reporting through which risks can be evaluated rigorously.

 

The Framework document can be obtained from www.dotars.gov.au

 

 



[1] The exact coordinates for the Australian FIR are published in the Australian Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP).

[2] A table of airspace classifications currently used in Australia, and providing further information, is published in the Australian Aeronautical Information Publication at “ENR 1.4 ATS Airspace Classification”.

[3] Special VFR is a VFR Flight authorised to take place in weather conditions that are less than standard Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC).

[4] The timing and processes to be followed for all ongoing reviews for airspace, services facilities or issues in general, are to be aligned with those identified for the ongoing review of airspace classifications.

[5] In fostering and encouraging the best outcomes for airspace administration, where a proposed change is assessed by CASA as worthy of consideration, the OAR should assist as appropriate in the development of the proposal to the point where it can be assessed.

[6] While collision avoidance is not part of separation provision, and collision avoidance systems such as TCAS are not included in determining the calculated level of safety required for separation provision, they are considered to be part of ATM safety management and must activate when separation mode has been compromised.

[7] The Aviation agencies have endorsed the “Joint Agreement on a Common Risk Management Framework for New and Changed Operational Requirements within Aviation”.  This describes agreed structures, processes and criteria – consistent with the Australian/New Zealand Standard 4360:2004.  A copy is available on the website of the Department of Transport and Regional Services:  www.dotars.gov.au.