Improving Performance

At the end of March, a revolution will begin in the skies over the North Atlantic, as for the first time in the history of air travel, earth orbiting satellites will be used to monitor and manage flights in near real-time.

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The idea that a digital tower can mean only that you look to replicate exactly what a controller can already see – the application we see most of around the world – is forcing constraints on the technology that don’t need to exist. This technology is revolutionary, so why strive to only recreate what we already have?

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is expecting 7.8 billion passengers to travel in 2036, nearly double the number in 2017. The biggest spike comes from the Asia Pacific region, which saw the highest air traffic growth of 9.6% last year, underscoring the tremendous growth of economies there.

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Advancing aviation, keeping the skies safe is what we strive to do every day. Not just in our own airspace, but across the world. This week, a team from NATS will be presenting at the Global ATM Safety Conference to share some of the work that we have been doing on a Standard of Excellence in Safety Management Systems (SoE in SMS) measurement tool.

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Creating a positive experience for customers is important in all industries, and this year’s annual AOA conference highlighted it’s no different in the aviation sector.

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A good interface makes the difference between feeling confused and overwhelmed or effortlessly in control. That’s important if it’s your mobile phone, but when the safety of thousands of passengers is potentially at stake, it is absolutely paramount. 

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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 advance of next week’s Global Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Association (GUTMA) conference, we caught up with Mark Watson, Head of UTM Service Integration at NATS and ANSP representative on the GUTMA Board, to learn more about what GUTMA is and does and why NATS are involved.

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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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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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