Our control centres
Our two centres
As the sole provider of en route services in the UK, NATS operates from two centres at Swanwick in Hampshire, England and Prestwick in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Swanwick in Hampshire
This centre started operating in January 2002, when it began handling aircraft flying over England and Wales. The operations room in Swanwick combines:
- London Area Control Centre (LACC), which manages en route traffic in the London Flight Information Region. This includes en route airspace over England and Wales up to the Scottish border.
- London Terminal Control Centre (LTCC), which handles traffic below 24,500 feet flying to or from London’s airports. This area, one of the busiest in Europe, extends south and east towards the coast, west towards Bristol and north to near Birmingham.
- Military Air Traffic Control. Military controllers provide services to civil and military aircraft operating outside controlled airspace. They work closely with civilian controllers to ensure safe co-ordination of traffic.
With the opening of the new Prestwick Centre in 2010, we consolidated our air traffic control centres from four to two – reducing costs, and increasing security and operational efficiency.
The operations room in Prestwick combines:
- Manchester Area Control Centre (MACC), which controls aircraft over much of the north of England, the Midlands and north Wales from 2,500 feet up to 28,500 feet.
- Scottish Area Control Centre (ScACC), which controls aircraft over Scotland, Northern Ireland, Northern England and the North Sea from 2,500 feet up to 66,000 feet.
- Oceanic Area Control Centre (OACC), which controls the airspace over the eastern half of the North Atlantic from the Azores (45 degrees north) to a boundary with Iceland (61 degrees north).
NATS is a public private partnership, with the government holding 49%, and a golden share.
Where we operate
As well as providing safe and efficient Air Traffic Control in the UK, we now operate in over 30 countries around the world
Air traffic control for commercial flights in the UK started in 1920.