Media Advisory – NATS at the World ATM Congress 2016

25 February 2016

NATS will once again be a key supporter of the CANSO World ATM Congress in Madrid on 8-10 March.

On stand 890, NATS experts will be available to discuss a range of ATM topics throughout the event, including: airport capacity management, cross border arrival and departure management, Time Based Separation and the deployment of SESAR technologies, including iTEC.

The main theme around the NATS stand is ‘performance in partnership’, demonstrating how by working in collaboration NATS is delivering benefits to airline and airport customers.

Event highlights

  • Please join NATS Chief Executive Officer, Martin Rolfe, and Harris Corporation President, Ed Sayadian, for a joint announcement regarding UK ATM modernisation. The brief event will start at 4pm, 8 March on the Harris stand (426), followed by one-on-one interviews upon request and a reception.
  • NATS Chief Executive Officer, Martin Rolfe will take part in the ‘Big Picture Leadership’ session in the main conference on 8 March at 9.45. The session will bring together the leaders of ATM, airlines and airports in a discussion on the issues that most need to be addressed today over and above the normal considerations of safety, capacity and operational efficiency. The session is expected to cover issues from global tracking and drones through to the increase in competition for tower services.
  • Borealis Alliance – Branka Subotic, Executive Director for the Borealis Alliance of which NATS is a member and Vice Chairman, will be presenting an overview of the Free Route Airspace programme. The presentation will cover the ongoing work to create free route airspace across the entire airspace controlled by the Borealis Alliance members, making air travel in Northern Europe cheaper, quicker and greener, while maintaining safety and marking a major contribution to the vision of a Single European Sky. Branka will be speaking on 9 March at 13.00 on the Spotlight stage.
  • XMAN – The NATS led inter-FAB initiative reduces the time aircraft spend in holding stacks around London Heathrow. By sharing arrival information across ANSPs, controllers in the UK, France, Ireland and the Netherlands slow aircraft down up to 350 nautical miles away from London in order to minimise holding times on arrival. It marks one of the first operational deployments of the SESAR concept of Extended Arrival Management and is generating annual savings of 15,000 tonnes of CO2 and €4m of fuel (based on 2014 fuel figures). Paul Nicholls, NATS Queue Management and Airspace Efficiency Manager, will be presenting alongside the XMAN project partners in the ATM Theatre on 8 March at 11.45.
  • Intelligent Approach/TBS – Designed to help maintain the landing rate during strong headwinds by dynamically calculating aircraft separations, Time Based Separation has been a huge success in cutting delays at Heathrow. In November 2015 alone the system saved 25,000 minutes of air traffic flow management delay and is on track to more than halve overall headwind delays at the airport. Now, NATS and Lockheed Martin are taking the concept of ‘Intelligent Approach’ to the next stage by working on further refinements to aircraft separations and ways that dynamic separation data can improve single runway and low visibility operations. Andy Shand, NATS General Manager for Customer Affairs, will be speaking about ‘Intelligent Approach’ with Lockheed Martin on 9 March at 16.10 in the Honeywell Tower Theatre.
  • iTEC – the next generation flight data processing system entered Limited Operational Service at NATS Prestwick Centre at the end of January. It includes a range of tools to help reduce air traffic controller workload, increase airspace capacity and improve safety. Its introduction at Prestwick – only its second deployment – represents a major milestone for NATS and helps bring a Single European Sky closer to reality. It is also part of a broader technology transformation programme at NATS that will see it invest £600 million over the next five years. The iTEC alliance will be welcoming new members during the conference, with details to be announced during the event.
  • Virtual Centres – NATS is an active member of the SESAR project which is exploring the concept of ‘Virtual Centres’. This involves decoupling Controller Working Positions owned by ANSPs from the information and data services provided by ATM Data Service Providers that currently feed those CWPs, with the possibility that this data could be served remotely. Samantha Nagahawatte, NATS Systems Engineering Manager is speaking at a SESAR session in the SESAR Exchange Theatre, on Weds 9 March 12.45-13.45.

Award shortlists

NATS has been shortlisted for three awards in the IHS Jane’s ATC Awards; all submissions have been jointly created with members from different partnerships and alliances. The projects nominated are the Continuous Descent Operations campaign; Project CLAIRE, which saw the first RPAS flight in non-segregated UK airspace; and the implementation of TBS at Heathrow. The awards ceremony will be held on 7 March at the CANSO ATM Dinner.

NATS is also part of three submissions (TBS, XMAN and Borealis Free Route Airspace programme) to the inaugural European Commission Single European Sky awards. The awards ceremony will be held at the SESAR Exchange Theatre, stand 889, on Tuesday 8 March 2016, from 16:00 to 17:00.

To pre-arrange an interview please contact the press office at or call 01489 615945.

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