Airspace change process

Through the Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR) we make changes to Australian airspace. We do this through the airspace change process. We may consider changes after an airspace review. We can also declare protective airspace after receipt of an Airspace Change Proposal (ACP).

For any change or protective airspace declaration to occur, we must have an ACP.

Anybody can submit an ACP; however, the main ACP proponents are aviation stakeholders including:

  • airspace users and aerodrome operators
  • Defence
  • Airservices Australia.

If a stakeholder wants to conduct an activity that potentially poses a risk to aircraft operations, they must lodge an ACP.

Airspace Change Proposals (ACPs)

An ACP could describe a specific airspace solution which the ACP proponent is requesting or a specific operational requirement which requires an airspace solution. For example to establish, amend or disestablish:

  • airspace
  • air routes
  • prohibited, restricted and danger (PRD) areas.

ACP contents

An ACP contains supporting information that describes the nature of the proposed change.

The ACP must contain the safety case that drives the proposal. Other information it must include is:

  • evidence of consultation with the relevant stakeholders
  • the proponent's contact details.

How to submit an ACP

    •   Download the form:
    Form 1284 Airspace change proposal
    •   Follow the instructions in the form that explain how to complete it, and what else you need to provide.
    •   Compile your supporting documents, as outlined on the form, including your completed risk assessment form:
    Form 1589 Airspace Risk Assessment
    • Send your completed form and supporting documents to the OAR using the email address on the form.
    • You can contact us for support when preparing your form.

After you submit your ACP

When we receive your ACP, we will:

  • acknowledge receipt
  • notify Airservices Australia and Defence (if applicable)
  • review your ACP.

Reviewing your ACP

We review your ACP to ensure it contains sufficient information and supporting analysis for us to assess it in terms of:

  • safety
  • efficiency
  • equitable access
  • economic and cost impact
  • national security
  • if the change is realistic and achievable.

We will also consider if the proposed start date leaves enough time for:

  • processing
  • analysis
  • further stakeholder consultation.

We will advise you if the information supplied is adequate to assess the application, or if we require further information.

Safety case

We will consider if your ACP has robust safety documentation to support it. At a minimum, this should include a risk assessment (see below for further details). However, depending on the size and scale of the proposal, we may need more detail. This could include:

  • an analysis of the current operating environment
  • key existing safety issues should be included
  • evidence of consideration of the impact of the change.

We will review the safety case to determine if a residual risk remains for airspace users.

Stakeholder consultation

We will also review evidence that appropriate stakeholder consultation has occurred.

If appropriate, we may also conduct our own consultation or instruct the proponent to conduct more.

Risk assessments and Environmental considerations

We will assess your ACP to ensure you included a risk assessment appropriate to the size and complexity of the proposal.

The risk assessment should take into account the:

  • types of airspace users
  • density of air traffic
  • meteorological conditions
  • topography
  • other factors that may be relevant.

We will also check there are no airspace/aircraft operation implications for Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999Matters of National Environmental Significance. However, we note that aviation safety is always the top priority.

Cost implications

We will ensure a Regulatory Impact Statement (cost: benefit analysis) is included for major change proposals, which considers the cost implications for all airspace users.

Compliance

We will assess the ACP in accordance with current:

  • legalisation
  • policy
  • procedures.

We will also assemble the supporting legal and aeronautical documentation to give effect to the ACP.

ACP outcomes

We will advise the proponent if the ACP is approved or not approved.

Our powers in relation to ACPs

The OAR has sole responsibility for approving or not approving an ACP. This can be with or without conditions.

Airservices Australia (Airservices) determines the location of air routes. They lodge ACPs 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.

Publishing ACPs

View the current list of Airspace change proposals under assessment

We publish ACPs and their description on the Airspace regulation page.

Read more about our consultations with industry and the public.

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