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Airspace regulation

The Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR) exercises powers under the Airspace Regulations (2007) to regulate and administer Australian airspace, including prohibited, restricted and danger areas where certain types of activities take place that may present a risk to aviation activities. Australian airspace administration is generally aligned with ICAO airspace classes and associated air traffic services. Airservices Australia and the Department of Defence provide those air traffic services. More information about the classes of airspace and airspace management is available from Airservices Australia.

The OAR also provides a regulatory function for the published air routes.

Any changes to the Australian airspace or the air routes are considered by the OAR through the airspace change process.

Independent Office of Airspace Regulation review

The Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development in his Statement of Expectations of April 2015 required CASA to "review the operations and functions of the OAR". The independent review, conducted by KPMG, review of the Office of Airspace Regulation has been completed in accordance with the terms of reference.

Office of Airspace Regulation

The airspace volume allocated to Australia by ICAO covers approximately 11% of the Earth’s surface. As a member of ICAO, Australia has responsibilities in relation to that airspace under the Chicago Convention.

The OAR must ensure that Australian airspace is administered safely and efficiently. This section provides information on airspace regulation.

Airspace change process

Any proposed changes to the Australian airspace architecture are managed through the airspace change process. Proposals can be made for changes such as emergencies, temporary events such as military training exercises or air shows, or permanently.

A change to the airspace architecture will be considered in line with the airspace principles outlined in the OAR Airspace Risk and Safety Management Manual (ARASMM). Approved airspace change proposals are legislated under the Airspace Regulations 2007.

Reviews of Australian airspace

The OAR is responsible for ensuring that the airspace architecture is appropriate for airspace users and airspace managers within the requirements of the regulatory framework. This is achieved through the review programme.

The programme operates on a cyclic basis with the aim of achieving a review of all of the Australian airspace architecture every 5 years. Reviews can also be triggered by an airspace change proposal or by an aeronautical study.

Airspace Risk and Safety Management Manual

The ARASMM is to record CASA’s policies and processes in performing the functions and exercising the powers in connection with the administration and regulation of Australian-administered airspace under the Airspace Act 2007. The ARASMM replaces the OAR Operations Manual (2010) and details the risk and safety management processes and methodologies, and the consultation and environment considerations, required to ensure that Australian-administered airspace is administered and used safely.

For more information and guidance relevant to work the OAR performs or for you as proponent of airspace change, please refer to specific parts of the ARASMM.

Recently updated information

The OAR has completed a Post Implementation Review of the airspace within 50 nautical miles of Brisbane West Wellcamp aerodrome, Queensland. Stakeholders are requested to provide comment and feedback on the report by Friday 20 January 2017. Comments can be provided to oar@casa.gov.au. Feedback will be attributed to the respondent.

The OAR has completed a review of Department of Defence managed airspace in the vicinity of Adelaide, South Australia. The report contains stakeholder feedback.

Previous studies

Previous studies are available on our papers and reports page.