Since becoming a Public Private Partnership in 2001, all of us at NATS have worked hard to deliver a service that is as safe and efficient as it can be, while reducing costs and offering greater value to our airline customers. In fact, we’ve reduced our costs by 45% since privatisation and we now sit 10th in the European league table of costs – we are the least expensive of all the largest ANSPs across Europe.
Last year was the busiest on record for air traffic across the UK; we handled more than 2.6 million flights with minimal delay, an average per flight delay of just 12.5 seconds. This included the known and planned for delay that resulted from the implementation of electronic flight strips in Terminal Control; without this delay, our annual figure would have been even lower – just 7.7 seconds. Our delivery on both fuel savings and flight efficiency performance were also better than target.
But we are not complacent and we are always looking at ways to improve and ensure that the airlines who entrust us with their business every day know that we go above and beyond for them.
One way we measure customer satisfaction is by asking the airlines to complete an annual survey, and while 2018 was record breaking in terms of aircraft numbers, we also recorded our highest ever customer satisfaction score – 8.57/10, up from 8.45 in 2017
Our strongest scores, as in previous years, were for safety, which may come as no surprise. And thanks to the introduction of some new environmental initiatives last year and improvement to those already well established, there was a marked increase in scores for the work we are doing in this area. Programmes such as the Airspace and Flight Efficiency Partnership, which ensures wider engagement with airlines on airspace changes, are essential as everyone wants to play their part in minimising the environmental impact of aviation.
What came through very strongly from all of our customers is that they like to be kept informed and we will endeavour to keep doing this over the next few critical years. The airlines want us to do more to improve flight efficiency, modernise airspace and increase airspace capacity. These are our priorities too and we can only deliver them by working collaboratively, planning around their plans for their flight schedules and any network changes, which could be caused by weather events, changing holiday destination trends or any number of reasons.
Understanding the views of our customers is vital for the success of our business and working together ensures that this success benefits everyone. This has never been as important as now, as we get ready to revolutionise the airspace above us – optimising flight paths and implementing new technology to future proof air traffic control as the demand for flying continues to increase.
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