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.

They form the bedrock of our mutual success and it’s something that we take incredibly seriously, whether we’re working in Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi or Aberdeen.

So seriously in fact that NATS is committed to becoming one of the first companies to achieve certification to ISO44001, when it is published in early 2017. This is the International Standards Organisation’s new benchmark for outstanding collaborative business requirements and behaviours. We literally couldn’t do our job without the help and support of our suppliers through the long term collaborative relationships we build with them, and equally we want to be a great company to do business with for our customers as well.

Where we have particularly important relationships, we’ve entered into what we call Strategic Partnerships. These special relationships are built on performance, mutual interest and benefit, trust and respect and allow for the sharing of best practice and the lessons learnt from working on projects all over the world. We’ve developed them with a number of our closest partners, including Heathrow Airport, Leidos and Indra.

We entered our Strategic Partnership with Heathrow in 2015, signalling a fundamental change to a relationship that goes back decades. We’ve moved from being merely an important supplier to a true partner, with aligned goals that allow us to share both the rewards of success and consequences of poor performance in a totally transparent and accountable way.

The partnership is performance led, with a set of working principles and specific incentivised targets in areas from delay performance and service resilience through to cutting aircraft noise. It’s a relationship that benefits both parties and ensures we’re both totally committed to providing the best possible service to the airlines and their passengers.

The purpose of such a partnership is to strengthen an existing relationship and show mutual commitment. Nowhere are those principles more needed than as part of the £600m investment programme NATS is currently delivering in the UK. A major part of the project involves the installation of a brand new flight data processing system called iTEC, the brain that will sit behind our entire UK air traffic operation. It’s an incredibly important piece of technology so having faith in the suppliers we’re working with has been vitally important.

That’s why we have a Strategic Partnership with Indra, the technology company behind the new system, which sees their teams fully embedded and working side by side with our own people. Their success in helping us introduce iTEC into our Scottish control centre last year earned them our Supplier of the Year award and is a testament to the power of partnership.

Our programme to introduce transformational concepts and technology in the UK is a huge part of our investment plan, so working with industry partners is fundamental to its success. We are bringing together these partners to work with each other in a supply chain “eco-system”, supported by a set of common collaborative principles. Collaborating with each other in the best interests of our programme, means we can address commercial and technical risks and opportunities cooperatively, facilitated by our award winning, leading-edge, Supply Chain function.

Strength through collaboration: NATS partners around the world

Leidos: A long established relationship based on successful delivery and performance, leading to the appointment of Leidos as the Service Integrator for our major technology transformation programme. We have committed to a strategic partnership to develop joint propositions for customers, pooling resources and expertise to offer new and innovative products and services. Our first cooperation is to showcase the benefits of Time Based Separation to airports around the world as part of a suite of products designed to optimise approach operations.

Mitsubishi Research Institute: An MOU to enable collaboration on Air Traffic Management (ATM) projects such as Air Traffic Flow Management in Japan and the Asia Pacific region; and increasing capacity and optimisation of ground operations at a number of airports.

JANS: MOU with Japan Air Navigation Services to enable working more closely together on a range of airport planning, capacity and efficiency projects. NATS is the first foreign business to sign a MoU with JANS.

Indra: Built on our successful strategic supply partnership to introduce major new technological changes into our UK operations, we have established a Strategic Collaboration Agreement to develop a number of new joint global business propositions, including tower and centre fit out services and expertise in deploying new airfield technologies.

AEA (April 2014): Strategic Partnership agreement with the Association of European Airlines (AEA) to explore ways of delivering additional savings for airline customers and drive progress towards a Single European Sky (SES).

Harris Corporation: A strategic partnership developed through a joint commitment to introduce transformational technology into the UK, with the new NATS Voice Communication Platform utilising the Harris VCS21 product. We have also undertaken to work together to offer benefits for current and future airport customers, through the development of airport traffic synchronisations and optimisations products and services together.


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