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.

We are now more than halfway through transitioning the London Terminal Control Centre on to a new electronic flight strip system, EXCDS. When I last wrote on this blog in early April, we were just about to embark on transitioning the sectors that control Heathrow, Gatwick and the airspace to the South and South-East of these airports.

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A decade ago we launched Acting Responsibly –   a unique programme among air navigation service providers globally – and we’ve achieved a huge amount. The sheer enthusiasm and passion of NATS employees has seen the programme grow into a rich range of activities. I’d like to share a few of highlights from the past […]

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With the volume of air traffic set to increase across Europe in the coming years; it is vital we have the communications infrastructure in place to suppose the exchange of data between Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), Airports and the Military, as well as the Pan-European Network Manager (PENS). PENS is the common network service used primarily by ANSPs and Eurocontrol to share air traffic management data.

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I’ve worked at NATS for 22 years now and have been an Air Traffic Controller for 19 of them! I trained for the first 3 years. I think in essence I’m still the same person that started all those years ago, and I still have the same passion for the job today as I did when I first “plugged in”.

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We caught up with Dan Townsend, the Airside Operations and Safety Manager at Southampton Airport to check how Robird is settling in.

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Starting tomorrow, the sectors that control Heathrow, Gatwick and the airspace to the South and South-East of these airports will switch over to EXCDS. This is obviously a particularly busy area of airspace, covering the approach function for the UK’s two busiest airports.

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Leaders in the aviation industry headed to Madrid for the sixth annual World ATM Congress last week to catch up on the latest technologies and conversations in ATC. NATS had a large presence at the event, focusing on three core themes…

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We understand you launched the first drone police unit earlier this year; what was the rationale behind that?

I was frustrated while dealing with an incident that our only aerial asset, a police helicopter, was deployed on another task so I was unable to get vital aerial footage that I needed for an investigation.

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Digital towers are one of the hottest topics around the industry at the moment, so last week we asked our LinkedIn followers to fire their burning questions at us for us to answer. So here they are.

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I served in the Royal Air Force for around 7 years prior to joining NATS.  Although Air Traffic Control was a career that I always wanted to get into, I assumed that I’d need to be super qualified, so I never explored it any further. 

When I finally decided that I needed a new challenge in life, my attention drew back to ATC, and luckily by now the internet was readily available so I was able to carry-out some research.  Realising the career was accessible I submitted my application and my first round of assessments were booked without hesitation.  

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