I first started writing these blogs in November 2017, just before the first transition onto EXCDS – the new electronic flight strip system. Four stages of EXCDS implementation have taken place since then which I have documented on this blog – I hope this has provided you with a greater understanding of the work we do here at NATS. I can proudly say that next week, the last of our controllers will start to use EXCDS thus bringing the entire Terminal Control Operation onto an electronic platform. 

The previous transition was a success and included the airspace to the East of London and for London City Airport.  However, as I mentioned in my previous blog (link to blog), we were affected by traffic coming from neighbouring European ANSPs and during this transition there was some very significant thunderstorm activity on the near continent which caused delay to many flights.

Each transition has brought its own set of unique challenges and this last one starts on Friday June 29 so our controllers will be asked to manage the transition and the traffic during the very busy summer schedules. It involves the Midlands and Capital sectors, and we are planning to restrict traffic to 15% less than our normal maximum in the first 10 days and 5% thereafter.  These are slightly less restrictive limits than previous transitions. We sincerely apologise for any delay you may experience throughout this transition but please be rest assured that we are working around the clock to minimise this.

I have talked often about the need to modernise the UK’s airspace so I can’t miss an opportunity to mention it again given that this is the final EXCDS transition. Modernisation is vital to the UK’s ability to keep up with the growing demand on the airspace. Improvements to our systems, such as EXCDS, are a big part of our modernisation plan and crucial to improving efficiency in the Operations room. 

 I would like to finish by saying a big thank you to all those who have worked so hard to bring EXCDS into operation.  The NATS team really has done a brilliant job in helping us to prepare to meet the ever growing demand in our congested skies. 


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