Improving Performance

Since the days of the first control tower 100 years ago – complete with its flags and lamps – airport air traffic control has followed one very simple principle – see aircraft, control aircraft.   But as airports have grown in size over the century, it’s become more and more difficult to give the air traffic controllers the best possible view of […]

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Seventy years ago, there was a revolution in air travel. Radio Detection and Ranging – or ‘radar’ – gave air traffic controllers their eyes on the skies. They could see aircraft, in real time, anywhere. Well, almost anywhere. The truth is radar has always had one inescapable limitation – you need something solid to build one on…

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Collaboration has always been a key part of the way we work at NATS and even during these socially distanced times, we have continued to work closely, even if remotely, with our partners. This has been demonstrated most recently by our work with LVNL, the Dutch air traffic navigation services provider, running Intelligent Approach simulations while maintaining social distancing and engaging virtually across national borders.

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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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