Airports

Back in 2019, we announced that we were working in partnership with Leidos and Canadian air traffic service provider, NAV CANADA, to deliver our Intelligent Approach tool for Toronto Pearson International Airport. But delivering a big project like this is never entirely straightforward and doing it during a global pandemic is even less so.

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This week sees the glorious return of Farnborough International Air show, a biennial event which showcases a blend of trade stands and air displays. After an unplanned four-year hiatus when Covid cancelled the 2020 event, this year’s show is extra special.

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Giving an engineer a RADAR to train on is akin to giving a real-life Ferrari to a Scalextric fan.  That’s what NATS Training Services did for Liverpool and Doncaster engineers. When the airports asked if we could provide a representative RADAR for the training course, the answer was a resounding yes. 

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You might have spotted the Heathrow air traffic control tower on TV recently in the BBC’s new show – ‘The Airport: Back in the Skies’. Presented by the original 90’s ‘Airport’ series star Jeremy Spake, the five-part documentary series looks at how the aviation industry at Britain’s busiest airport managed through the most challenging time in its history.

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It’s now more than a year since London City Airport successfully transitioned to a digital tower and began controlling flights from a brand-new remote-control centre, based in Swanwick.

Now, instead of sitting in a physical tower based at London City Airport, a dedicated team of controllers manage the runway through sixteen high-definition cameras and sensors mounted on a mast, capturing a 360-degree view of the City Airport airfield.

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Increasingly, its technology that is allowing airports to unlock the next level of capability and performance, something that will be increasingly important for the Greater Bay Area as the Chinese government aims to grow the region into a world-leading transportation hub.

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I’m finding in conversations with airport operations directors around the world, is that they’re looking at ways to enable future growth, but in a way that reflects our current reality.

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Annual investments in the drone industry reached a record high in 2020, over 90% of which were in the manufacture of electric flying taxis. Within the next five years, passenger-carrying piloted flying taxis are expected to start low-density operations across cities in the UK, at a rate that’s projected to exceed existing helicopter traffic.

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COP26: Planning for history

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) came to a close earlier this month and as the UK prepared to host the event in Glasgow, months of logistical planning from our side was coming together as our air traffic controllers geared up for what was a busy few weeks, especially in Scottish airspace and at Scottish airports.

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Friday 12 November is International ATSEP day – which is all about recognising and celebrating our colleagues who help to keep our equipment operational and safe. We took time out to speak to colleagues from around our Technical Services team to find out more about ATSEP, what it means to them and how it affects our business.

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