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Classification of airspace for visual flights

This Regulation marks a new phase in the creation of the single European sky, by setting out a classification of air space. Its aim is to enhance air transport safety and ensure that airspace safety management can take place on an international level.

ACT

Commission Regulation (EC) No 730/2006 of 11 May 2006 on airspace classification and access of flights operated under visual flight rules * above flight level 195 [Official Journal L 128 of 16.5.2006]

SUMMARY

This Regulation introduces classification and common rules for all airspace above 19 500 feet. It sets out a more transparent framework for cross-border flights as well as ensuring easier access for "VFR" flights (flights operated under visual flight rules). These rules will make it easier for foreign pilots to understand the airspace system.

The Commission, following a proposal by the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL), has defined airspace above flight level 195 as being class C.

Airspace is classified based on the services provided within it (this being dependent on flight regime) and on the minimum meteorological conditions needed for visual flights. Airspace is classified on a scale from A to G, A being the most restricted (and safest) and G being the freest. Classification is awarded to airspace on the basis of traffic, which explains the varying levels of restriction.

Background

In 2004, the European Parliament and the Council adopted an ambitious legislative framework, known as the Single European Sky. They also asked the Commission to prepare implementing regulations on the provision of services, airspace and interoperability. The Commission has therefore set up measures and initiatives such as SESAR (a new generation European air traffic management system) and extended the remit of the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Key terms used in the act
  • Visual flights or VFR ("Visual Flight Rules"): flight rules under which pilots operate aircraft with the aid of external points of reference (horizon, ground observation), generally without the need for monitoring by air navigation authorities. VFR flights require favourable weather conditions. VFR rules are laid down by the Chicago Convention.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) of 730/20065.6.2006-OJ L 128 of 16.5.2006

RELATED ACTS

Regulation (EC) No 551/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 on the organisation and use of the airspace in the single European sky [Official Journal L 96 of 31.3.2004]

Regulation (EC) No 549/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 laying down the framework for the creation of the single European sky [Official Journal L 96 of 31.3.2006]

Last updated: 14.9.2007
Last updated: 14.09.2007
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