Improving Performance

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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Leaders in the aviation industry headed to Madrid for the sixth annual World ATM Congress last week to catch up on the latest technologies and conversations in ATC. NATS had a large presence at the event, focusing on three core themes…

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The idea of Artificial Intelligence might seem like something for the future, but it is here already and the potential uses are growing by the day and last year we introduced machine learning to help us predict the likelihood of potential safety events in our London Terminal Control operation.

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The recent deployment of EXCDS in to the London Terminal Control operation at NATS was the successful culmination of nearly three years of collaboration between NATS and NAV CANADA on the project.

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Last month we welcomed representatives from the Department for Transport (DfT) and the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) to our Swanwick Centre to see some of the work we’re doing to modernise our ATM systems as part of the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) programme.

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Excitement is building in the aviation industry around digital ‘remote’ towers and the benefits they can offer to airports; from costs savings through to safety and operational enhancements. But I can tell you from hard experience that this wasn’t always the case.

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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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This past weekend, an enthusiastic team from Searidge Technologies and NATS participated in the first ever international airport {Re} Coding Aviation event in Berlin at hub:raum, a Deutsche Telekom incubator.

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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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Navigation at sea is very different to aviation – with the exception of a few very busy traffic management schemes such as those in the English Channel, ships are largely left to depend upon the training of the captain and self-separation. But on the issue of drones, there is absolute agreement – they are already here and are able to deliver substantial benefit to UK plc.

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