NATS unveiled as an IET Awards finalist

14 October 2014

Air traffic management company, NATS has been announced as a finalist in a worldwide competition to recognise the best innovations in engineering, science and technology.

NATS was selected by the Institution of Engineering and Technology as a finalist in the Navigation and Surveillance Communications; Transport; and Intelligent Systems categories in recognition of its cross-border arrivals management project – Heathrow XMAN – designed to reduce aircraft holding times at Heathrow Airport.

The ongoing trial – which began in April – sees UK air traffic controllers collaborating with their counterparts in France, Ireland and the Netherlands to better manage delays to Heathrow arrivals. This work was assisted by TOPFLIGHT, a SESAR Demonstration Project that evaluated a range of future concepts for the management of cross-border air traffic operations. By sharing operational data across national borders, controllers up to 350 miles away from London can slow aircraft down in their own airspace in order to reduce delays upon arrival.

Cutting the amount of time aircraft spend holding helps reduce noise for local communities beneath the flight path while cutting airline fuel bills and CO2 emissions.

Martin Rolfe, Managing Director, Operations at NATS, commented: “As the first cross border arrivals management – or XMAN – trial of its kind anywhere in the world, this is a genuine innovation and a great example of partners working together to deliver customer benefits.

“To be chosen as a finalist by such a prestigious organisation as the Institution of Engineering and Technology is a fantastic achievement. It is a reflection of the strength of the collaboration between air traffic controllers, engineers and our world class suppliers, including Snowflake Software and Exelis.”

The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Innovation Awards recognise engineering excellence across 16 categories from sustainability and transport to communications and healthcare technologies.

The free-to-enter, international, annual awards scheme provides a unique opportunity for engineering inventors to showcase their brightest ideas. NATS will now join the rest of the short-listed applicants at the IET Innovation Awards Ceremony, a ceremony which will take place in London on 19 November 2014, and where the winner in each category will be announced.


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