NATS Blog

Here our people share their insights, views and expertise on the world of Air Traffic Management. We cover a broad range of topics from discussing technology and practices today to sharing visions of a potential tomorrow.

Last week we launched Airspace Explorer, our beta app that uses real radar data to track aircraft in the UK. One of the things we want to achieve was to highlight the importance and structure of our airspace – the invisible and hidden road network in the sky in which our controllers manage flows of air traffic.

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As days get longer and the weather gets warmer, more and more aviation enthusiasts are taking to the skies to explore countryside and coast from above – the vast majority of which fly responsibly and in line with the rules.

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Earlier today we announced the launch of our beta flight tracking app, Airspace Explorer and I wanted to share with you some of my favourite features.

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When Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, told us they were launching new routes between Heathrow and Aberdeen and Edinburgh starting on 26 March, we knew it was extremely important to achieve a seamless integration into the Heathrow operation.

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If you’re like me, I’m sure you will have read last week’s story about circular runways – The Endless Runway Project – with a huge amount of interest mixed with equal doses of incredulity and admiration.

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While the biggest sustainability issues facing aviation are related to aircraft fuel burn, emissions and noise, there are many good reasons for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), like us, to reduce the impact of their own operations too.

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Aircraft are hit by lightning far more frequently than you might think and, although this could cause serious damage and result in lengthy delays, most of the time it goes completely unnoticed.

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As the World ATM Congress looms large on the horizon, we asked our CEO, Martin Rolfe, to share his views on the big topics sure to be on the lips of the Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) community in Madrid next week.

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Navigation at sea is very different to aviation – with the exception of a few very busy traffic management schemes such as those in the English Channel, ships are largely left to depend upon the training of the captain and self-separation. But on the issue of drones, there is absolute agreement – they are already here and are able to deliver substantial benefit to UK plc.

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Working in partnership is absolutely fundamental to what we do. That’s true for the special relationship between air traffic controllers and pilots and for the customers, suppliers and organisations that we work with all over the world.

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