Airservices is seeking feedback on its proposal to lower the base of Class E airspace between Cairns and Melbourne to 1,500ft (AGL), replacing those segments of Class G airspace.

The issue

Airservices is seeking to change their service provision at 15 regional airports and across thousands of miles of low level airspace as part of the Airspace Modernisation Program. Benefiting the entire east coast and regional Australia, they are leveraging Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) and radar surveillance assets to enhance their service delivery.

It is proposed to lower the base of Class E airspace to 1,500ft (AGL) in medium and high density enroute airspace between Cairns and Melbourne in 2021. This will replace the Class G airspace segments, while enhancing services provided to Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) aircraft, similar to the changes we introduced in 2020.

It is proposed that this change be introduced in the December 2021 AIRAC cycle.

Note: the proposal is to amend existing airspace where the base of Class E is 8,500ft (A085). Segments of airspace where the base of Class E is 12,500ft (FL125) will remain as-is.

Please see the attached paper for further information.

Submitted by: 

Airservices Australia


Airservices would like to thank all airspace users and aviation industry stakeholders that provided feedback on our initial proposal to lower the base of Class E airspace along the East Coast. 

For the initial consultation period from 20 January to 15 February 2021, we received over 1,000 responses from all aspects of industry, including airlines, industry associations such as Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus), Gliding Federation, Australian Airline Pilots’ Association (AusALPA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Civil Air and various general aviation (GA) operators. 

Your feedback is absolutely critical in deeply understanding the potential impacts on our industry. As previously communicated, we are assessing all feedback received to input into our detailed design process. In particular, the industry has highlighted the following key issues and we are revising our proposal to address the feedback:   

  • facilitate continued access to Class G airspace by VFR aircraft that do not meet the current transponder and radio communications fitment requirements in Class E airspace 
  • cater for the operational context and desired safety outcomes in Class G and Class E airspace, considering factors such as traffic mix, operational needs and characteristics of different types of airspace users and controls against threats such as terrain, engine failure or inclement weather
  • avoid potential for confusion in relation to the airspace boundary reference to above-ground-level (AGL) versus above-mean-sea-level (AMSL)
  • effectively manage the human factors aspect of the change, including operational complexity, workload, communication/coordination, training and education implications from both air traffic controllers and pilots’ perspectives
  • reduce surveillance and communications coverage gaps within controlled airspace 
  • reduce the likelihood of delays on departures and arrivals   
  • clarify the safety case for change, with consideration to cost/benefit implications to stakeholders impacted by the proposal
  • allow industry sufficient opportunity to consider and provide feedback on the details of the proposal. 

We will provide an update to industry in the week starting 22 February 2021 with supporting information via our Engage platform, email communications and additional industry meetings. We will continue to consult with industry and take on board any further industry feedback on the revised proposal before proceeding with the formal Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) to be assessed by the airspace regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).   

We are committed to listening to the needs of all airspace users and working with industry to develop an optimal solution to modernise our airspace architecture. We are acutely conscious of the need to minimise adverse impacts on airspace safety, access, efficiency and environmental outcomes, while being able to deliver service enhancements to operators that can already benefit from today’s modern surveillance capabilities. 

Make a submission

Provide your feedback on this consultation via Engage Airservices: 

Start 21/01/2021
End 15/02/2021
0 Days Remaining