NATS is increasingly being asked for our advice on when more runways might be needed, how to manage demands of global events like the Olympics, and how to reduce delays or move more aircraft.

By virtue of history and being a small island the UK has faced plenty of aviation challenges, with a huge growth in demand but with no new runways for many years.  As a result, not only have we coped but we’ve learnt valuable, sometimes painful lessons, moved more traffic with increasing safety requirements and, since becoming a Public Private Partnership (PPP), we’ve even made a regular profit.

Other countries – and regions – are  now facing challenges not previously seen in Europe borne out of a huge growth in demand of over 10% year on year, individual airlines ordering hundreds of new aircraft in a single year, and airports rapidly expanding their infrastructure from two to four runways – welcome to Asia Pacific.

Macau Airport

How will these Asian Pacific countries cope with such challenges? Certainly not with ‘more of the same’ and not with the same approach that has worked in the UK. Solutions need to be targeted to specific needs, making the best use of current and future infrastructure and capabilities both in the air and on the ground.

We also need to think more widely; solutions need to be regional and not simply national, with local solutions that can link together to solve regional problems.  Asia Pacific is not the same as Europe or the US, traffic demand on the day often isn’t known until the aircraft calls. It isn’t the familiar environment that we are used to operating within.

NATS’ skill is in operationalising solutions, making sure they can be safely implemented and that they deliver quantifiable benefits to the customer.  Being able to move 1,350 aircraft a day from two runways at Heathrow or in excess of 55 an hour from a single runway at Gatwick is evidence of our expertise.  However, offering a competitive solution that meets a customer’s needs and at the same time exceeds their expectations is what makes the difference, especially in a market like Asia Pacific.


NATS’ track record in delivering an end-to end solution that improves capacity, optimises airport assets and enables wider network benefits is increasingly being recognised across the Asia Pacific region, with work in a wide range of countries including India, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.


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