Improving Performance

The Covid19 crisis represents a once in a generation opportunity to ‘build back better’, so how successful was DHL’s ‘perfect flight’ what lessons can we learn?

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From time to time, you might hear us talk about airspace changes. But we rarely talk about the work that goes on behind the scenes to deliver the end result. Every change is broken down into elements, all managed by different teams – from safety experts to engineers who work closely to put their individual puzzle pieces together. These teams must ensure they deliver their pieces of the puzzle on time so that projects don’t slip, and airspace changes can always be delivered on the date that has been planned.

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Earlier this year we started a project looking at whether we could apply a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ultra-HD camera technology to help cut weather- related delays at Heathrow. Here’s an update on what we’re doing next.

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For more than 15 years, NATS has been closely involved with CHIRP, an organisation set up in 1982 to provide a totally independent, confidential reporting facility for members of the aviation and maritime community, with the aim of contributing to the enhancement of safety in these industries.

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In March 2019 NATS won approval to use ADS-B to provide a full radar service for helicopter operations in the North Sea. This is the first approval of its kind allowing the use of ADS-B to this level in the UK.

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We’ve been working with European partners on several solutions to increase airspace capacity and cost efficiency; improve safety and predictability and provide greater fuel efficiency and environmental sustainability.  We are testing a new systemised airspace management tool (SYSMAN) and how it interacts with queue management systems especially Arrival Manager (AMAN), and Airport Demand Capacity Balancing (Airport-DCB).

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It’s now been over two months since we introduced the Aireon service over the North Atlantic and we’re getting a clear picture of what all that means in terms of early benefits to our customers.

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I was in Brussels last month for Eurocontrol’s Artificial Intelligence in Aviation event for a chance to cut through the hype and look at real, practical ways in which this disruptive technology can help transform how the aviation industry works, and the challenges that exist in getting there.  

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In tonight’s episode of Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport, you’ll have seen the impact the Gatwick drone incident had on the team of controllers at Heathrow, and the wider airport, but of course that was just part of the story.

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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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