Introducing Class E Steps Into Ayers Rock

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Aerial view of Ayers Rock, Australia.

To increase the surveillance separation service and enhance safety, Airservices Australia is undertaking a trial at Ayers Rock of Class E airspace steps to 5,500ft Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL) (A055).


BACKGROUND

As part of Airservices' commitment to improving the provision of safe and innovative services through the Airspace Modernisation Program (AMP), Airservices continues to develop opportunities to enhance the level of safety and efficiency of Australian airspace. On 21 May 2020, a trial of Class E steps to 5,500ft AMSL (A055) at Ayers Rock was introduced, having received the approval of the Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

The approved airspace design was finalised through comprehensive consultation with airlines, general aviation, and industry stakeholders in 2019, resulting in enhanced safety and increased surveillance separation services for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) airspace users. The introduction of Class E airspace at A055 will facilitate Visual Flight Rules (VFR) scenic flights and regular public transport (RPT) operations. The existing scenic routes and Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) procedures will remain in place. Consequently, IFR operating aircraft will receive an increased surveillance separation service through the availability of Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) at Ayers Rock.


WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS OF THIS CHANGE?


The approved airspace design shows the Class E steps as:

- A055 if the lower limit is within 25nm

- A065 if the lower limit is from 25 to 35nm

- A085 if the lower limit is from 35 to 50nm

- FL115 if the lower limit is from 50 to 60nm

- FL125 if the lower limit is outside 60nm


DURATION OF TRIAL

While the trial was originally intended to run for twelve months, the serious reduction in traffic that has occured since the pandemic began means that very little data has been gathered to date. For this reason, Airservices has concluded that the trial should be extended. Airservices is now working with CASA to determine an appropriate timeline.



HOW WILL THE SUCCESS OF THE TRIAL BE ASSESSED?


Three elements will be considered:

- a review of occurrences captured in Airservices safety reporting system and/or received by CASA

- feedback from industry stakeholders

- feedback from air traffic controllers


WHAT WILL THE AIRSPACE LOOK LIKE?


Figure 1: The approved airspace design.


WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO AIRSPACE USERS?


The expected benefits of introducing Class E airspace at Ayers Rock include:

- Enhanced safety through the introduction of a surveillance separation service from air traffic control

- By lowering the base of Class E airspace, surveillance separation in the area is increased down to 5,500ft (AMSL)

- Airspace users could benefit from the fitment of ADS-B avionics to receive a separation service by air traffic control



HOW DO I ASK QUESTIONS AND PROVIDE FEEDBACK ON THIS CHANGE?

Please refer to the Q&A section below to submit your question. The plan for the trial includes two rounds of industry feedback, at six months (originally planned for November 2020) and eleven months (April 2021) of operations. This timetable will be revised in line with the timeframe for recommencement of RPT operations to Ayers Rock. This page will be kept up to date with the latest developments (last updated September 2020).




To increase the surveillance separation service and enhance safety, Airservices Australia is undertaking a trial at Ayers Rock of Class E airspace steps to 5,500ft Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL) (A055).


BACKGROUND

As part of Airservices' commitment to improving the provision of safe and innovative services through the Airspace Modernisation Program (AMP), Airservices continues to develop opportunities to enhance the level of safety and efficiency of Australian airspace. On 21 May 2020, a trial of Class E steps to 5,500ft AMSL (A055) at Ayers Rock was introduced, having received the approval of the Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

The approved airspace design was finalised through comprehensive consultation with airlines, general aviation, and industry stakeholders in 2019, resulting in enhanced safety and increased surveillance separation services for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) airspace users. The introduction of Class E airspace at A055 will facilitate Visual Flight Rules (VFR) scenic flights and regular public transport (RPT) operations. The existing scenic routes and Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) procedures will remain in place. Consequently, IFR operating aircraft will receive an increased surveillance separation service through the availability of Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) at Ayers Rock.


WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS OF THIS CHANGE?


The approved airspace design shows the Class E steps as:

- A055 if the lower limit is within 25nm

- A065 if the lower limit is from 25 to 35nm

- A085 if the lower limit is from 35 to 50nm

- FL115 if the lower limit is from 50 to 60nm

- FL125 if the lower limit is outside 60nm


DURATION OF TRIAL

While the trial was originally intended to run for twelve months, the serious reduction in traffic that has occured since the pandemic began means that very little data has been gathered to date. For this reason, Airservices has concluded that the trial should be extended. Airservices is now working with CASA to determine an appropriate timeline.



HOW WILL THE SUCCESS OF THE TRIAL BE ASSESSED?


Three elements will be considered:

- a review of occurrences captured in Airservices safety reporting system and/or received by CASA

- feedback from industry stakeholders

- feedback from air traffic controllers


WHAT WILL THE AIRSPACE LOOK LIKE?


Figure 1: The approved airspace design.


WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO AIRSPACE USERS?


The expected benefits of introducing Class E airspace at Ayers Rock include:

- Enhanced safety through the introduction of a surveillance separation service from air traffic control

- By lowering the base of Class E airspace, surveillance separation in the area is increased down to 5,500ft (AMSL)

- Airspace users could benefit from the fitment of ADS-B avionics to receive a separation service by air traffic control



HOW DO I ASK QUESTIONS AND PROVIDE FEEDBACK ON THIS CHANGE?

Please refer to the Q&A section below to submit your question. The plan for the trial includes two rounds of industry feedback, at six months (originally planned for November 2020) and eleven months (April 2021) of operations. This timetable will be revised in line with the timeframe for recommencement of RPT operations to Ayers Rock. This page will be kept up to date with the latest developments (last updated September 2020).




Please use the Q&A box below to submit your questions.

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