Our number one priority

Managing Safety

One of the world’s first to introduce a Safety Management System (SMS)

NATS applies a systematic safety management system to all of its operational activities. We were one of the world’s first air traffic management providers to implement a safety management system (SMS). This formal approach is founded on documented safety policies, safety principles and safety procedures. The system forms the basis for risk assessment, safety assurance, safety control and safety monitoring.

Through the SMS, safety is given the highest priority by rigorous reviews of the safety implications of every activity within the ATM operation. The SMS maintains explicit safety standards which comply with national and international obligations.

Delivering a safe service

Our service is delivered by highly trained controllers supported by sophisticated technical systems. Controllers undertake an extensive three year training programme from initial entry to becoming fully operational. They are then subject to a continuous process of assessment of operational competence with annual reviews and re-validation by the safety regulator.

Rigorous external regulation

NATS is subject to tough safety regulation from the Civil Aviation Authority which is a leader in the field of regulating air traffic services. The model of independent safety regulation is increasingly being adopted worldwide in the Air Traffic Management industry.

Independent safety advice

The Safety Review Committee (SRC) is a top-level Board committee supported by independent experts from safety related fields that assists NATS in setting new ‘best in class’ safety standards. The role of the SRC is to monitor and review the effectiveness of the safety arrangements in place in the company and provide advice on improvement where necessary.

The Committee is authorised to seek any information it requires from any employee of the company in order to perform its duties.

Monitoring safety performance

NATS has a comprehensive safety incident reporting and investigation process. This provides vital information that is used to identify areas for safety improvement. NATS is committed to maintaining a ‘just’ culture to encourage the free and honest reporting of safety incidents and concerns.


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