10.3: Airspace Management (ASM)
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The surrounding air is the fundamental mean in which aircraft fly and navigate. In aeronautics, the airspace is considered as the volume of air above the earth surface in which aircraft carry out their activity. The development of aviation has encouraged the organization of the airspace:
First, in the sense of sovereignty and responsibility of the different states. As a state has perfectly defined its territory and its territorial waters, where its laws apply, there must also exist a sovereign airspace. Notice that the international organizations (ICAO) define also the responsibility over the ocean.10
Second, with the airspace politically delimited, the airspace must also be organized to allow the efficient and safe development of aircraft operations. It has been established a network of routes, equipped with navigation aids, so that the aircraft can navigate following the routes. Communication and surveillance services are also provided. This network of routes is referred to as ATS (Air Traffic Services) routes. These routes go through regions that determine the volumes of responsibility over which the functions of surveillance and control are executed. These regions are referred to as FIR/UIR (Flying Information Region/Upper Information Region). Inside each region, there are defined different areas of control depending on the phase of the flight.
Figure 10.7: Air Traffic Control.
10. In aviation there is international air, in analogy with the international waters. The whole airspace is under responsibility of one or more states according to ICAO.