Free Routing


Currently, airspace users must usually plan routes that follow published routes. Creating ‘Free Route Airspace’ and offering free routing will allow airspace users to plan flights according to their preferences without being constrained by a fixed route network. This will require tools to support controllers who need to manage traffic in the free route environment.


Free Route Airspace will enable airspace users to plan and take the most cost effective, fuel efficient and timely routes across a piece of airspace, as well as improving the predictability of flights. The support tools for controllers will ensure that safety, capacity and workload will be maintained or improved.


Free route airspace is a requirement of EU regulations and will be in live operation by 2022. Implementation will first be done in low complexity airspace and then later in higher complexity airspace.


NATS is part of the Borealis Alliance of 9 North European ANSPs and, as well as introducing Free Route Airspace in the UK, will be joining with 8 other ANSPs to offer seamless Free Route Airspace across the airspace of nine countries.

Project Benefits:

  • Capacity

  • Cost-savings

  • Environment

  • Fuel-savings

Project Maturity: Validation

Project Tags: Intelligent airspace, SESAR