The general assumption is that traffic is likely to increase slowly through to the end of the year, but we have to be ready to handle traffic whenever it returns. There’s no way airspace can be a constraint on regeneration so that means careful planning within our operation.
Working in the safety critical world of air traffic control, NATS has a strong record in the provision of peer support (Critical Incident Stress Management – CISM) to colleagues across the business. As the number of flights across the UK has dropped dramatically, a lot of our employees have been put on furlough. With more spare time on our hands, we were honoured to be asked to assist the NHS fulfil their own employee support helpline and play our part.
As an air traffic controller, I usually manage aircraft in a very busy sector of airspace. However, as millions of people across the world are put on lockdown, the number of flights across the UK has dropped dramatically and I’ve been put on furlough. It’s unusual to have time off like this and I wanted to try and fill it doing something meaningful. A friend told me about a community group looking for volunteers to make urgently needed personal protective clothing for the NHS and care homes, so I got stuck in.
Thinking back through the major crises I’ve worked through during my professional life and nothing has come close to the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having on both our industry.