This week sees the UK celebrating one of its favourite traditions: afternoon tea.

Whether enjoyed in a 5-star hotel, or a quaint tearoom, the British love a sweet treat – particularly when served with one of the 165 million cups of tea the nation drinks each day.

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The Premier League might take place in England and Wales but it’s a truly international affair.  So this week’s question has been inspired by the new season: How many flights do NATS’ air traffic controllers manage in the busiest 90 minutes of the week? 

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For the next 11 Mondays we’ll be asking a new airspace related question – bowl us over with the right answer and you could be one of two lucky winners walking away with £250 each. This week’s question has been inspired by the upcoming test match…

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With the holiday season upon us, the coming weeks are generally our busiest time of the year. Next week we’re launching #SkyByNumbers. Every Monday we’ll be asking a new airspace related question and calling on you to guess the answer using the hashtag #SkyByNumbers. Over the next twelve weeks we will be giving away £250 to two lucky winners EACH week.

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How do you squeeze a flying armada of one hundred aircraft of various vintages in and out of the world’s most complex piece of airspace? That was the question we were posed last year when the RAF asked us work with them on their 100th anniversary flypast.

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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. 

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In April I attended the annual IATA Ops Conference in Ottowa, where we were able to share a vision for transatlantic flights in 2025, jointly developed by us at NATS and the Canadian air traffic service, NAV CANADA. The video we produced is aimed at an aviation audience but hopefully it gives any viewer an idea of the huge amount of work that we’re doing with NAV CANADA to transform transatlantic operations to make it safer, cleaner and far more efficient.

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We are now more than halfway through transitioning the London Terminal Control Centre on to a new electronic flight strip system, EXCDS. When I last wrote on this blog in early April, we were just about to embark on transitioning the sectors that control Heathrow, Gatwick and the airspace to the South and South-East of these airports.

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We caught up with Dan Townsend, the Airside Operations and Safety Manager at Southampton Airport to check how Robird is settling in.

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Starting tomorrow, the sectors that control Heathrow, Gatwick and the airspace to the South and South-East of these airports will switch over to EXCDS. This is obviously a particularly busy area of airspace, covering the approach function for the UK’s two busiest airports.

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