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According to the ICAO PBN Manual, in order to satisfy the following strategic objectives: safety, capacity, efficiency, environment and access; the "airspace concept" has been developed. This is achieved by enhancements in:

(1) Communications (COM)
(2) Navigation (NAV)
(3) Surveillance (SUR)
(4) Air Traffic Management (ATM)

  • A
    (1), (2) and (3).
  • B
    (2) and (4).
  • C
    (1), (2), (3) and (4).
  • D


An airspace concept may be viewed as a general vision or a master plan for a particular airspace. The strategic objectives which most commonly drive airspace concepts are safety, capacity, efficiency, access and the environment.

For example:

  • Safety: The design of RNP instrument approach procedures could be a way of increasing safety (by reducing Controlled Flights into Terrain (CFIT)).

  • Capacity: Planning the addition of an extra runway at an airport to increase capacity will trigger a change to the airpsace concept (new approaches to SIDs and STAR required).

  • Efficiency: A user requirement to optimize flight profiles on departure and arrival could make flights more efficient in terms of fuel burn.

  • Environment: Requirements for reduced emissions, noise preferential routes or continuous descent/arrivals/approaches (CDA), are environmental motivators for change.

  • Access: A requirement to provide an approach with lower minima than supported by conventional procedures, to ensure continued access to the airport during bad weather, may result in providing an RNP approach to that runway.

The cascade effect from strategic objectives to the airspace concept places requirements on the various “enablers”, such as communication, navigation, ATS surveillance, air traffic management and flight operations.

More information can be found: ICAO Doc 9613

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