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Martin Rolfe






 

Earlier this year, in a meeting with aviation industry executives at the White House, President Donald Trump called the U.S air traffic arrangements “obsolete”. Perhaps surprising to his many critics, he’s actually not alone in his thinking as the majority of airlines agree with his plans to liberalise and even privatise the country’s air traffic control organisation.

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I was delighted last week to see Eamonn Brennan elected to run Eurocontrol, the Europe-wide coordinating body for air traffic control. He takes over in 2018 and is no doubt already working out what his priorities will need to be – because there are a lot.

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As the World ATM Congress looms large on the horizon, we asked our CEO, Martin Rolfe, to share his views on the big topics sure to be on the lips of the Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) community in Madrid next week.

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NATS has been taking part in the creation of a TV series with the BBC called Skies Above Britain. I hope you enjoy what will be a unique insight into what NATS does, but also many of the other fascinating, exciting and occasionally bizarre aspects that make up the aviation community in the UK.

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I went to Westminster last night with the CEO of Heathrow to meet a group of MPs to discuss what their constituents are telling them is more flights and more noise over their homes.

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Airspace is our invisible infrastructure: we might not be able to see it, but it is as important as our roads, our railways and our runways.

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Emerging challenges

Yesterday I joined colleagues at the World ATM Congress for a discussion about some of the key challenges facing those of us in the world of air traffic management in the years to come.

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With the Christmas and New Year celebrations already a distant memory, 2016 is shaping up as another very challenging and exciting year for both NATS and the wider aviation industry.

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The sky has a limit

Unlike most of our physical transport infrastructure – our roads, our railways, or our runways – the airspace infrastructure is invisible but it is most certainly there, underpinning the UK’s aviation industry and the UK economy.

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Sometimes it takes a terrible tragedy to galvanise our understandably conservative industry into taking bold steps, but our response must be measured as well as meaningful.

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