NATS win Voice Communication Control System Contract with HIAL

16 June 2011

NATS, the UK’s leading air navigation service provider, today announced that it has signed a contract with Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) to supply and install Voice Communication Control Systems (VCCS) for Inverness, Sumburgh and Kirkwall Airports.

NATS has been entrusted to deploy new, safety-critical technology into the airport control towers that will enhance voice communications between the control tower, aircraft and ground crew. NATS won the contract through competitive tender.

“The integrity and reliability of voice communications is vital to airfield safety.”  said Iain Harris, NATS Engineering Director, “NATS’ unparalleled expertise at delivering air traffic control engineering projects without disrupting airport operations was a contributory factor in this bid.  For these critical infrastructure upgrades, HIAL has chosen a partner they can trust.”

The contract requires not only the large scale implementation of VCCS equipment, which must interface with the existing communications, recording and telephone systems, but also the management of safety assurances, and Air Traffic Control (ATC) and engineering training on the new equipment at each site.

The installation is to be completed with no interruption to existing air traffic control service, and must comply within the UK regulatory framework.

Robin MacRae, Head of Operations at HIAL said: “We’re investing in robust technological infrastructure for these airfields, which are crucial lifeline services for the communities in addition to serving leisure and business travellers. New voice communication systems will enhance the resilience of these airports, helping to ensure that high standards of safety and operational efficiency are maintained.”

NATS has unrivalled experience in the deployment of air traffic control systems, having designed and implemented technology infrastructures of control towers at Heathrow, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Farnborough, Jersey and the Isle of Man.  Most recently, NATS has been awarded a contract to fit out the existing tower at Manchester airport with electronic flight progress strips, which will streamline the transition to the new tower in 2013.

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