NATO comes to NATS at Cardiff Airport
The NATS team at Cardiff Airport – air traffic controllers, engineers and support staff – have been preparing for the NATO Conference, to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales, from 4 to 5 September.
Over 60 world leaders and thousands of dignitaries are expected, with the majority of visitors arriving into Cardiff and Bristol airports, while others will transit through the other major UK hubs.
Preparation at Cardiff, the main receiving airport, began around nine months ago and will be key to ensuring the security and safety of the public and delegates is met while they transit through the airport. A military air traffic control liaison team will be located in the air traffic control tower at Cardiff Airport, working with the NATS controllers in support of the air and ground policing operations.
From 3 Sep 0900 (local) to 5 Sep 2000 (local), temporary Restricted Airspace will be effective for 20nm around the Celtic Manor Resort. Additional airspace will be put in place to restrict activity over the city of Cardiff and out to the south west; the latter specifically required for a flypast on the final morning of the event and for a practice run which is planned to take place on the 3 Sep. This flypast will include Typhoons, F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, Mig-29s, and a Voyager escorted by the Red Arrows. This restricted airspace will not impact on scheduled flights from the airport.
Roger Marsh, General Manager Cardiff Airport said: “A lot of detailed planning has gone into the work by employees at the unit, led by Aidan Cottee, Manager Operations. Externally, we have been working closely with the Airport customer, the Foreign Office, the MoD and South Wales police, to ensure all levels of security and logistics are well planned and efficiently managed.”
NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services, is well used to working with events such as this, having successfully managed past events such as the recent Commonwealth Games and the G8 Summit in Belfast.