BBC to broadcast from Heathrow Tower

21 May 2013

NATS air traffic control operations at Heathrow Airport will be in the spotlight in a new live TV event broadcast over four nights next month.

Presenter Dan Snow will be in the Heathrow Airport control tower for Airport Live as the BBC gets unrivalled access behind the scenes throughout the airport for the programme due to aired between 20:00-21:00hrs each evening 17–20 June.

Presenters Dallas Campbell and Anita Rani will also be airside, granted unparalleled access to get to grips with the extraordinary science, engineering and logistics that make air travel at one of the world’s busiest airports possible.

There will be a significant focus on the work of NATS’ air traffic controllers who manage around 1,400 aircraft movements each day, including access to the heart of the operation in the visual control room of the tower.

Dan Snow said: “Air travel has become an everyday luxury that we take for granted, but behind the scenes it’s a fascinating web of processes all precisely managed to maintain equilibrium.

“Over four nights we’ll get the chance to see how it all works. We’ll take a look at the complex choreography of air traffic control, learn to fly the world’s largest passenger jet, the A380, and discover how weather plays a crucial role in keeping the whole operation running smoothly. Airport Live will be a thrilling journey through the skies and a definitive account of modern air travel.”

NATS’ General Manager at Heathrow Jon Proudlove said the BBC programme would shine a light on an aspect of air travel that the public does not generally get to see.

“The work of the NATS air traffic controllers at Heathrow is crucial to the efficient running of the airport, ensuring that the runways that we have are used to their maximum capacity safely every day,” said Jon.

“This programme will show some of the challenges we face and the technology that we use to ensure we get the very most we can from what is available.”

The BBC said Airport Live would mark the most complete exploration of Heathrow’s grounds and skies and would feature a mix of live and pre-recorded footage that would explain how an airport worked.

BBC Two will go behind the scenes airside; into the heart of the air traffic control tower; onto the tarmac as a plane is turned around for departure; and into the hub of engineering to watch a service on a plane. Everything and everyone is on a deadline and BBC Two will be there to watch this daily race first hand.


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