The UK Civil Aviation Authority has started handing over instrument flight procedure design to the private sector and expects this to be complete within two years.

This mirrors a process that the US Federal Aviation Administration had gone through in the last two years. The FAA has approved four companies as procedure designers: Boeing, Honeywell, Jeppesen and Naverus.

"After March 2012, it is believed that the procedure design industry will be robust enough for the CAA to act purely as a regulator," says the CAA.

It has published the details of its expectations from instrument flight procedure (IFP) designers and how they may apply for approval.

Meanwhile it has clarified its own position as regulator and approver of IFP design, explaining: "We will audit designs, procedure designers and design organisations to ensure that they maintain the highest standards to promote safe and flyable procedures.

"Only procedures that have met all the regulatory requirements will be notified in the UK Aeronautical Information Publication."

The CAA makes clear that it will continue to offer advice to aerodromes and operators on "all aspects of instrument flight procedures", but that if it is asked to design IFPs the request would be handed to its consultancy division, CAA International, which will offer IFP design services.

This process is part of a significant worldwide shift in the way in which procedure design is managed and executed. This was sparked by the need for rapid infrastructure development in countries such as China, and the potential for using global navigation satellite system guidance for required navigation performance approaches and departures, especially in regions where the terrain makes conventional precision approaches impossible.

Source: Flight International