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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NATS has played a major role in the SESAR R&D programme since 2009 working with colleagues from across Europe. We are now embarking on the next wave of collaborative R&D through SESAR 2020.
We’ve talked before about the opportunities and challenges that the growth in drone use presents. A new report released this week by SESAR and endorsed by the European Commission attempts to quantify the benefits and suggests the drone market place could generate in excess of EUR 10 billion value annually, in nominal terms, by 2035 and over EUR 15 billion annually by 2050.
The use of unmanned technology is not entirely new however the availability and affordability have improved significantly. This is beginning to revolutionise aspects of industry previously limited in its use of aerial services due to the high costs involved with running fixed wing and rotary aircraft.
Education is key to the safe integration of drones in civil airspace, according to the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s Assistant Director of Communications.