Airspace

While the recent Icelandic volcanic eruption did not impact air travel, Gavin Dixon, from our Prestwick Centre, discusses why some do…

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Our latest data visualisation is a really stark illustration of how hard the industry has been hit by the pandemic and with the Government still considering its “traffic lights” system, the much-needed summer on which the industry has been pinning its hopes is starting to look more uncertain and ever further away. We are ready if and when we get the green light for international travel, but we desperately need clarity if the summer is to be saved.

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The 23 March marks World Meteorological Day, commemorating the coming into force of the Convention establishing the World Meteorological Organization in 1950. Read about the MET Office team that work alongside our operation and the work they do to ensure that safe and efficient operational decisions can be made.

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There was no fanfare or fireworks, but last Tuesday was a significant day in the history of transatlantic air travel. For the first time in decades there were no westbound tracks across the North Atlantic.

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It was the Roman philosopher and naturalist Pliny the Elder who said the only certainty is that nothing is certain.  He would never know how many times he’d be quoted over the centuries, and it’s a truth we are grappling with right now as we try to plan our way out of the pandemic. 

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These may be uncertain times, but one thing we know for sure is that flying in the future will look very different from the past. Flying taxis, all-electric aircraft, drone deliveries, even commercial space travel… they are not so far away. That Sixties world of The Jetsons is now knocking at our door! We are already planning to modernise the UK’s airspace and enable access for new types of aircraft, which also means changing the way we manage the airspace.

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The dramatic fall in traffic we’ve seen across the Atlantic has given us a window of opportunity to do things differently, and to introduce things more quickly than otherwise might have been possible. So, we’re going to disband the Organised Track Structure on days where we don’t believe they are necessary.

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Despite the ongoing impact of the pandemic on our industry, there is much to be optimistic about, and there has never been a better time to recalibrate and change our collective mindset to do things differently in the future. Martin Rolfe, CEO, tells more about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the new decade.

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To allay any anxiety that 2020 may have derailed normal operations, we thought you’d appreciate getting a behind the scenes view of the flight planning process has gone so you can reassure anyone expected a delivery on Christmas Eve. 

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During a series of trial flights, NATS has been working closely with the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) to assess how remotely piloted and unmanned aircraft can be used for search and rescue operations by HM Coastguard.

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