The nature of terminal airspace structures varies significantly across the FIR. Whilst London airport airspace is compact and heavily used some other, mainly regional airports have relatively low traffic volumes resulting in lightly used airspace particularly where predicted growth has not materialised. Established in the lower levels, this airspace has the most impact on VFR operations and in the extreme can result in an almost empty space with the main volume of traffic flowing around it.
A significant proportion of aircraft which fly VFR are unable to access CAS because they cannot obtain a clearance or comply with one. Some aircraft have no means of communication, often because they have little structure or no source of power whilst others cannot maintain a level or track because they have to follow the atmospheric energy. Within this category are some 7000 unregulated aircraft including paragliders, para-motors and ultra-light aircraft, 2700 gliders and a proportion of the 4000 microlight aircraft. Something in the order of 10,000 of the 27,000 UK aircraft are automatically excluded from CAS. Local access can be provided by LOA but that normally only applies to small areas for particular purposes by particular groups. Those VFR aircraft which can access terminal airspace are not always able to obtain a clearance because of traffic, controller workload or weather restrictions. Because they must have an alternative plan avoiding CAS, many VFR pilots choose to take the avoiding option as the simplest, most reliable and therefore safer primary route. Because of the rising cost of GA, increasing numbers of pilots are unable to fly sufficiently to maintain the skills and confidence to fly VFR in CAS. Thus the shape, size, characteristic and location of CAS have a significant impact on a large proportion of VFR aircraft.
FASVIG would carry out a review of existing terminal airspace from the VFR user viewpoint, engaging with the airspace projects that are set up to consider London (LAMP), Manchester/Liverpool (NTCA) and other entities where appropriate. Where the design of CAS may be larger than is strictly necessary for its present task or where there are particular challenges for VFR aircraft avoiding it, FASVIG would quantify the issues and if appropriate proposals to adjust the boundaries to achieve better balance would be identified and passed to a stakeholder organisation for ACP action.