Press update: July 2010

30 July 2010

Welcome to the NATS Press Update, a monthly bulletin of news from the UK’s leading air traffic services provider.

The guiding principle of air traffic control is that safety is paramount. Our objective is to maintain and, where practicable, improve standards to achieve the highest levels of safety performance. The whole structure and culture of NATS is built around safety.

Within this safety driven environment, we deliver an efficient, effective service to our customers, directing over 2.2 million flights and 200 million passengers safely through some of the busiest and most complex airspace in the world each year.

NATS Services supports the Sultanate of Oman in dealing with the growth of its aviation industry


28 July 2010 – NATS Services has signed a contract with the Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Transport to deliver a far-reaching project that will fundamentally redesign its airspace in order to increase capacity, efficiency and safety in the region. The Sultanate of Oman chose NATS Services, the UK aviation solutions provider, based upon its experience, commitment and ability to deliver.

The Middle East continues to buck the global reduction in aircraft movements with an expanding aviation market that sees investment in airports and airspace measured in billions of dollars to provide the capacity needed.

Fergus Cusden, Head of Global Consultancy for NATS Services, comments, “Oman’s growth demands that its airspace is fit for purpose. The expansion within the Middle East requires all of its countries to support one another in developing the airspace and the procedures that govern it. We’re delighted to work with Oman’s DGMAN and we’re looking forward to supporting them with the development of their airspace.”

Gatwick Airport buys innovative NATS solution to cut delay and emissions


The new owner of Gatwick Airport, the world’s busiest single runway civil airport, has awarded a contract to NATS Services to improve operational efficiency, cutting passenger delays and reducing aircraft emissions.

Global Infrastructure Partners has chosen NATS Services to install and operate the innovative Airport Collaborative Decision-Making (A-CDM) service the company has developed to synchronise better the management of the airfield.  Gatwick is the first airport to adopt the full A-CDM service suite offered by NATS Services.

A-CDM pulls together onto one screen or hand-held device all the different streams of information about aircraft including their current position, accurate forecasts of arrival times and optimum departure sequences.  It can even provide a live radar picture of the airport.  All this information enables airport, airline and air traffic managers as well as the many support services across the airport, in fine-tuning minute-to-minute, hour-by-hour operational decision-making.

Marginal decline in June traffic as Heathrow posts record day

Latest statistics show that NATS handled 1.4% less traffic in June 2010 than in the same month the previous year, indicating that traffic is returning to previous levels seen before the volcanic ash cloud and BA strikes impact.

On 29 June, Heathrow Airport reached a new daily record of 1,385 movements (arrivals and departures).  This record figure at Heathrow comes before the main holiday season begins.

Overall there were 198,063 flights in UK controlled airspace, as against 200,914 the previous year.  All centres showed declines except Oceanic, where traffic was nearly the same as the previous year.  All markets declined except transatlantic overflights, which increased by 4.4% on 2009.

Jun 2010 Jun 2009 % gr 2010 to Date 2009 to Date % gr
UK FLIGHTS 198,063 200,914 -1.4% 997,592 1,078,490 -7.5%
Swanwick 171,254 174,398 -1.8% 860,567 929,490 -7.4%
Prestwick 81,839 84,122 -2.7% 405,290 452,865 -10.5%
London Area Control 163,761 166,139 -1.4% 818,232 883,225 -7.4%
London Terminal Control 109,563 113,069 -3.1% 576,517 617,901 -6.7%
Manchester Area Control Centre 43,360 45,237 -4.1% 213,734 241,281 -11.4%
Scottish Area Control Centre 49,207 49,995 -1.6% 247,393 273,224 -9.5%
Oceanic Area Control Centre (Shanwick) 36,437 36,429 0.0% 180,540 191,780 -5.9%
Transatlantic Arrivals/Departures 10,989 11,245 -2.3% 57,073 61,069 -6.5%
Transatlantic Overflights 17,910 17,155 4.4% 85,450 90,998 -6.1%
Other Arrivals/Departures 122,120 124,281 -1.7% 609,248 654,758 -7.0%
Other Overflights 9,609 9,823 -2.2% 46,426 54,141 -14.2%
Domestic 36,948 38,074 -3.0% 196,249 215,045 -8.7%


NATS, British Airways and BAA in UK first with “Perfect Flight”

Britain’s aviation industry has come together to reach an important environmental milestone, turning a normal Saturday evening service from Heathrow to Edinburgh into the UK’s first “perfect flight”.

Every factor within the journey – from pushback from the stand and taxiing to an optimised flight profile and continuous descent approach – was calibrated to achieve minimal emissions and delay.

Data from the 19.30 British Airways BA1462 flight will now be gathered and analysed, together with air traffic control and airport information, to understand the benefits. Initially, it is believed up to a quarter tonne of fuel could be saved, equating to nearly one tonne of CO2.

NATS and BA worked with BAA at Heathrow and Edinburgh to achieve this landmark flight, which was proposed by NATS’ Andy Sampson and Kel Kirkland. Kel said: “Unlocking each individual link in the chain on a single flight is not easy. Everyone has had a part to play.

“It will be some time before we can expect to see the “perfect flight” replicated day in, day out but we have demonstrated it is possible and we can work towards it in the long-term.”

NATS Aware wins CAA GA Safety Award

NATS and Airbox were selected for special commendation in the CAA’s 2010 General Aviation Safety Awards for their work developing AWARE, the GPS airspace warning tool.

The award, which was presented at Aero Expo on Friday, 25 June, is in recognition of NATS’ novel approach to curbing airspace infringements. The judges praised the device as a clever initiative, which introduced an easy to use, competitively priced, GPS set that can be regularly updated to tackle airspace infringements.

The CAA’s GA Safety Awards are presented annually to an individual or group for displaying particular skills in safety critical incidents or for commitment to improving general aviation safety through a project or campaign. Winners are selected from nominations put forward by the GA community.

In addition to the CAA Award, Aware is endorsed by the Airline Owners and Pilots Association; and the British Microlight Aircraft Association has shown its support by waiving modification fees on installation of an Aware.

Design a safety poster and win an AWARE

NATS is calling for people to help design its next airspace infringement awareness poster and win one of ten AWARE devices.

We are looking for posters that tune in to why people might infringe and how they could effectively prevent that from happening. NATS is giving away ten AWARE devices, five to individuals and five to flying clubs/groups who are judged to have produced the best designed and most effective posters.

What’s more, skilled artistry is not needed – NATS will help turn great concepts into powerful posters.  The very best entries will be professionally reproduced and distributed up and down the country.

Posters will be judged on creativity and use of the infringements-avoidance theme.

All people need to do is get designing and email entries (all popular formats accepted) to, along with their name or the name of their club or group.  By submitting an entry, you are agreeing that your poster is your own original concept and design and not subject to any copyright protections.

The competition runs until 31 August 2010. Winners will be announced in early September.

All the details about the AWARE airspace awareness device can be found at

View some of the entries that have already been submitted here:


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