The health of the economy continues to improve and this is fuelling an increasingly vibrant aviation industry.
NATS expects to handle 1.14 million flights in and out of London’s airports in 2016. In amongst that, London Luton Airport (LLA) is forecast to see the biggest rise in traffic levels at around 10%, making it the fastest growing airport in the UK.
NATS has been an integral part of the LLA operation since 2000 and has been supporting the accelerated growth that has seen passenger numbers increase eight-fold over a decade to 12.2 million in 2015. Last year alone the number of passengers increased by a third over the previous year. LLA expects to account for 17% of all new passengers using London airports by 2030, which equates to 18 million people.*
We work closely with LLA in their planning process, and this is always critical in the run up to the busy summer season, and even more so now when the airport is in the throes of major redevelopment. The airport is investing £110 million in a change programme to maximise its single runway operation. Part of this investment includes new technologies that enable NATS controllers to more efficiently keep track of aircraft under their guidance. New systems and procedures allow controllers to make small changes to movements on the ground and in the air in order to reduce fuel burn and noise, whilst increasing capacity and maintaining safety. Just a couple of years ago in 2012, the NATS Luton Air Traffic Control team handled 98,769 aircraft movements but in 2015 the same team controlled an astonishing 118,192 movements.
I’m pleased with the strong relationships that have been forged between the NATS team and LLA as this understanding and co-operation is key to the delivery of continued growth in performance figures.
With this summer expected to be the busiest ever recorded LLA has estimated that the financial contribution from the airport to the Three Counties economy will almost double from the current £732 million to a massive £1.4 billion,* something that NATS is proud to be playing a key role in delivering.
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