Our news

Changes to our skies will benefit both businesses and consumers. Here you will find some of the latest news and updates from the Our Future Skies campaign.

News Stories

Air travellers could be hit with ‘opt-out’ carbon tax on flights

By Helen Coffer, The Independent, Monday 22 July 2019

The government is considering adding an opt-out carbon tax to flights as part of a new call for evidence.

Launched by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, the Department for Transport campaign is inviting people to share their views on whether it should be mandatory for companies selling tickets for flights, ferries, trains and coach travel to be transparent about carbon emissions and offer offsetting options at the point of sale.

The Carbon Offsetting in Transport call for evidence highlights that one barrier to uptake from passengers is a lack of awareness about the availability and purpose of carbon offsetting schemes.

“UK airlines are committed to decarbonising aviation and are working with government to continue progress through the introduction of new greener technologies, including more efficient aircraft and engines, sustainable aviation fuels and vital airspace modernisation,” said Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK.

You can read more here.

Air travellers to be hit by carbon charge on all tickets

By Graeme Paton, The Times, Monday 22 July 2019

Air passengers face having a carbon charge added to the price of tickets automatically under government plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Ministers are considering measures that would require all airlines to introduce carbon offsetting payments at the point of ticket sale. Payments would be voluntary but could work on an “opt-out” system. Similar measures could also be applied to trains, buses and ferries.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “UK airlines are committed to decarbonising aviation and are working with government to [introduce] new greener technologies, including more efficient aircraft and engines, sustainable aviation fuels and vital airspace modernisation.”

You can read more here.

NATS warns airspace modernisation needed following UK’s busiest-ever day for flights

By Jenni Reid, Business Traveller, Friday 19 July 2019

The UK’s main air navigation service provider has said that there could be 50 times as many flight delays as there are today by 2030 due to ageing airspace design.

National Air Traffic Services (NATS) made the warning following the busiest-ever day for flights in and out of the UK on July 5, which saw 8,863 flights in 24 hours.

NATS is expecting a second consecutive record-breaking summer, with most schools finishing for the long holiday today.

You can read more here.

Air traffic controllers gear up for ‘busiest summer’

By Phil Davies, Travel Weekly, Friday 19 July 2019

A record summer of flights has been forecast as most schools break up today for the July-August holidays.

Air traffic control provider NATS saw its busiest ever day on July 5 with 8,863 flights against just over 7,000 handled on a regular day.

More than 8,800 flights are expected to depart and arrive in the UK today (Friday).

You can read more here.

Revealed: The worst airlines and routes for delays

By Josh Robbins, Which?, Saturday 6 July 2019

Our skies are getting busier and, as a consequence, slower. There were more than 2.25m aircraft movement across the UK last year compared with just over 1.5m in 2014. UK airspace – the ‘motorways’ and ‘ roundabouts’ of the sky – has failed to keep pace with this surge in traffic; it hasn’t fundamentally changed since the 1950s, and the CAA acknowledge that this is a reason for increased delays. The government body has committed to modernising UK airspace, but the first phase of this modernisation won’t be complete until 2025. Delays could get worse before they get better.

You can read more here.

Britain braces for its busiest day of air travel EVER today as Champions League final added to holiday getaways mean 9,000 flights are expected – bringing potential for airport chaos

By William Cole, Mail Online, Friday 31 May 2019

UK airspace could see its busiest day ever as football fans jet off to the Champions League final in Spain. Some 9,000 flights are predicted to take place on Friday, beating the all-time daily record of 8,854 set on May 25 2018. There will also be a surge in chartered flights and private jets departing the UK for Madrid as Liverpool and Tottenham fans travel to the Champions League final.

You can read more here.

Champions League: Fans could help break UK flight record

BBC News, Friday 31 May 2019

There could be a record-breaking number of flights using British skies on one day as English football fans fly to Madrid for the Champions League final. Around 9,000 flights are predicted on Friday, which would exceed the previous record of 8,854 set on 25 May 2018.

You can read more here.

Champions League final could see UK airspace endure its busiest day ever

Sky News, Friday 31 May 2019

Thousands of football fans jetting off for the Champions League final in Madrid could ensure UK airspace endures its busiest day ever. Some 9,000 flights are predicted to take off, beating the all-time daily record of 8,854 set on 25 May last year.

You can read more here.

Up to 800 extra flights expected for Champions League Final

By Mike Borland, NATS, Thursday 30 May 2019

Last week saw the busiest day of the year so far, signalling the kick-off to what is likely to be the busiest summer ever in UK airspace as traffic levels continue to outstrip forecasts. This Saturday’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Spurs in Madrid is the summer’s first big milestone.

You can read more here.

The hidden detail about travel insurance you never knew – it could save your holiday

By Beth Allcock, The Daily Express, Sunday 28 April 2019

Holiday fever can leave many travellers so preoccupied with packing, they may forget to plan for other essential items. One particular thing considered a must have by many is travel insurance – yet a huge fact about the protection has been revealed.

You can read more here.

Flights: One in three UK planes will be DELAYED by 2030 for one important reason

By Beth Allcock, The Daily Express, Wednesday 17 April 2019

Flight passengers might think they’ve got it bad if they suffer a delay, yet experts warn this will rocket to one in three routes being late in the near future. They claim all airplane routes will be affected if change is not made to accommodate an increase in passenger numbers. But just what needs to be done?

You can read more here.

Dublin is Birmingham’s top pick for an Easter trip

Midlands in Business, Wednesday 17 April 2019

Data from Our Future Skies, reveals Dublin is the most popular destination for those travelling from Birmingham airport this Easter, with more than 11,500 passengers looking to fly there over the coming Bank Holiday weekend. Amsterdam is the second most popular destination, followed by Dubai.

You can read more here.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is airspace modernisation?

Just like our roads and railways, we need our airspace, our infrastructure in the sky, to keep people moving as efficiently as possible.  Our airspace was designed in the 1950s for aircraft which were much less capable than today’s. Today, the UK’s airspace handles around 2.5 million flights a year, carrying over 285 million passengers. Government forecasts tell us that by 2030 there will be 355 million passengers on 3.25 million flights. To manage this increase in flights, we need to modernise our skies. If we don’t, the delays faced by passengers are likely to soar – with one in three flights delayed by half an hour or more by 2030.  


New technology, such as satellite-based navigation, allows us to modernise our future skies and will deliver more capacity and keep the UK moving by reducing delays. It’s a huge opportunity to provide a better service for passengers, to potentially reduce noise for thousands and save carbon emissions. It also means that airlines will have greater freedom to take routes that will save time and fuel, and that air travel could become more affordable, more sustainable and even safer than it is today.


  • Why is it necessary?

The Department for Transport published its UK Airspace Policy in 2017, setting out why we need to modernise our skies and is consulting on this process now. Secretary of State Chris Grayling told the industry that there is a now a “pressing need” to modernise UK airspace.

If the UK is able to make these changes by 2025, it will bring us in line with global airspace changes, mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a part of the United Nations. The UK aviation sector’s regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), requires all UK airports to consult with their local communities about their proposed changes.

  • What’s going to change?

Airspace modernisation will make journeys quicker, quieter and cleaner. New technology will help deliver more capacity and keep the UK moving by reducing delays; a redesigned route network will optimise aircraft performance.

Modernising our skies will increase the resilience of UK flights. This means we can be more confident that travelling by plane, whether to go on holiday or business, will not be affected by costly delays.


  • How do we know the new technology is safe?

It is already being used across the world. It is proven to be even safer than the technology used today, so flying will continue to be one of the safest forms of travel.   


  • How can I find out if I am under a flight path that may change?

Your local airport will need to consult you about any changes that may happen as a result of the modernisation of our airspace. Local consultations will be advertised, and airports will hold regular community meetings during the consultation process. You may receive a leaflet through your door, hear about it on your local radio station or read about it in your local newspaper.


The airspace change process, designed by the Civil Aviation Authority, is detailed in the Civil Aviation Authority’s CAP 1616 Airspace Design document.