NATS Blog

Here our people share their insights, views and expertise on the world of Air Traffic Management. We cover a broad range of topics from discussing technology and practices today to sharing visions of a potential tomorrow.

With traffic reaching unprecedented levels and forecast to continue growing in the years to come, it’s vital that we maximise our airspace capacity. Understanding the traffic demand is essential to achieving this. Without an accurate demand forecast, it’s challenging to make best use of the resources – particularly staff, airspace and sector configurations – that help deliver that capacity.

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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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Ten years ago  flight BA038 crashed landed short of the runway at Heathrow Airport. What would then ensue would be among the most memorable, pressurised and emotionally charged few minutes of air traffic controller Greg Kemp’s life. This is the first time he’s spoken publically about what happened.  

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Back in November 2017, we started transitioning controllers in our London Terminal Control Centre from a system of paper strips to a new electronic flight strips tool called EXCDS. It’s vital that we prepare ourselves for the significant growth in air travel that’s forecast for the years ahead and we need new tools, such as EXCDS, to help us do that.

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Fortunately, with a temperate climate, much of our weather in the UK tends to be fairly benign (this week’s snow a possible exception!) but one of the most common and disruptive forms is strong winds. Find out how exactly it affects air traffic control >>

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With traffic forecast to grow significantly over the next decade and ongoing pressures to improve environmental performance and reduce costs whilst maintaining safety, we need to change the way we manage air traffic in the UK.

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You might have read the Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) explaining that on 1 January NATS is launching a new GA pre-notification tool as part of an online Airspace Users Portal for all non-standard flight applications. Find out more…

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Armistice Day on 11 November provides a powerful focus for national remembrance, but for me it’s a particular day of reflection.

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Despite falling oil prices, initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, fuel consumption and flight times remain a priority for our airline customers. It’s also one of our overarching corporate objectives, with the aspiration of enabling a 10% cut in aviation CO2 emissions by 2020.

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Last month my colleague Chris Edwards talked about the transition that’s under way in our London Terminal Control room, where we’re introducing a new digital tool called EXCDS to replace the paper strips currently used by Controllers.

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