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Airspace change process
Changes to Australian airspace architecture are made through the airspace change process. We can also declare protective airspace after receipt of an airspace change proposal (ACP).
Changes may also be considered following an airspace review. For any change or protective airspace declaration to occur, an ACP needs to be submitted to the Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR).
- What is an ACP?
To enable a change to a volume of airspace the proponent would lodge an airspace change proposal (ACP) with the OAR. For example — establish, amend or disestablish:
- air routes
- prohibited, restricted and danger (PRD) areas.
An airspace change should be in the best interests of equitable access and efficient use of the airspace. National security should be considered, and where practicable, minimise the effects of aviation on the environment.
- What does an ACP contain?
An ACP contains the proponent's contact details and supporting information that describes the nature of the proposed establishment, amendment or disestablishment of a class of airspace, air route, or PRD area.
The ACP must contain the safety case that is driving the proposal. Other key information includes evidence of consultation with the relevant stakeholders.
- Who can submit an ACP?
Anybody can submit an ACP, however, the main ACP proponents are aviation stakeholders including:
- aircraft and aerodrome operators
- Airservices Australia.
If a stakeholder proposes to conduct an activity that potentially poses a risk to aircraft operations they should lodge an ACP.
- How to submit an ACP
- What happens to an ACP once it is submitted?
When an ACP is received the OAR will:
- acknowledge receipt
- notify Airservices Australia
- review the ACP to:
- ensure a robust safety case exists to support it
- ensure appropriate stakeholder consultation occurs
- check there are no airspace/aircraft operation implications for Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Matters of National Environmental Significance, noting that aviation safety is always the top priority
- conduct a risk assessment to determine if a residual risk remains that warrants the establishment, amendment or disestablishment of airspace
- conduct additional stakeholder consultation on the proposal (as necessary)
- assemble the supporting legal and aeronautical documentation to give effect to the ACP
- advise the proponent if the ACP is approved or not approved.
- Where are ACPs published?
The ACP and its description are published on the Airspace regulation page.
- How are ACPs assessed?
The OAR assesses ACPs in line with policies and processes. Approved ACPs are legislated under Airspace Regulations 2007.
The manual outlines the risk-based approach in assessing proposals and has information about consultation and environmental considerations to ensure that airspace is administered in accordance with the Airspace Regulations 2007 and AAPS.
- What powers does CASA have in relation to ACPs?
The OAR has sole responsibility for approving or not approving an ACP, with or without conditions.
Airservices Australia (Airservices) determines the location of air routes and they would lodge an ACP to implement changes to air routes. As part of the air route planning, Airservices assesses the potential effects of aircraft noise.
Airservices and other approved flight procedure designers assess the potential effects of aircraft noise. If an ACP is required to contain the flight paths, the proponent must include the assessment of aircraft noise.
Proposals under assessment
View the current list of Airspace change proposals under assessment (pdf 48.74 KB).
Contact the OAR to obtain more information on airspace change proposals, and urgent emergency protective airspace requests.