Press update: March 2010

10 March 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 2.4 million flights and 220 million passengers safely through some of the busiest and most complex airspace in the world each year.

Monthly Traffic Figures

Flight levels declined by 2.9 per cent in February 2010 compared with February 2009. Year to date figures indicate a 6.1 per cent decline in traffic between the first two months of 2009 and 2010.

At the airports where NATS provides services, traffic decreased by an average of 1.9 per cent. The NATS airports that showed positive growth compared to February 2009 were Bristol (8.0 per cent), Farnborough (6.2 per cent), Gatwick (3.1 per cent), Southampton (2.9 per cent), Heathrow (2.0 per cent) and Luton (1.8 per cent).

Airlines will move to summer schedules on 28th March.

  Feb 2010 Feb 2009 % gr 2010 to Date 2009 to Date % gr
UK FLIGHTS 150,006 154,535 -2.9% 302,072 321,857 -6.1%
Swanwick 129,251 132,542 -2.5% 259,723 275,881 -5.9%
Prestwick 60,635 64,403 -5.9% 122,512 135,404 -9.5%
London Area Control 122,092 125,580 -2.8% 245,920 261,699 -6.0%
London Terminal Control 89,716 89,593 0.1% 179,501 186,682 -3.8%
Manchester Area Control Centre 31,894 34,271 -6.9% 63,466 71,141 -10.8%
Scottish Area Control Centre 37,603 39,149 -3.9% 76,568 83,009 -7.8%
Oceanic Area Control Centre (Shanwick) 26,659 27,496 -3.0% 55,837 57,615 -3.1%
Transatlantic Arrivals/Departures 8,343 8,774 -4.9% 17,442 18,695 -6.7%
Transatlantic Overflights 11,956 12,978 -7.9% 25,479 27,374 -6.9%
Other Arrivals/Departures 90,603 92,497 -2.0% 182,242 192,441 -5.3%
Other Overflights 7,083 8,020 -11.7% 14,422 16,915 -14.7%
Domestic 31,635 32,049 -1.3% 61,848 65,962 -6.2%

NATS’ New Group Director of Safety


David Harrison

On February 19, NATS announced that it has appointed Dr. David Harrison as its new Group Director of Safety, reporting to NATS’ CEO.

David, who most recently served as general manager of the Manchester Area Control Centre, will replace Gretchen Burrett who is joining the CAA as Group Director, Safety Regulation.

David has over 20 years of experience at NATS, having worked in various areas including heading up the Chief Scientist’s Division, incorporating Operational Analysis, Research and Development and Human Factors, and leading the Architecture and Integrity department in Technology and Programmes.

NATS Services launch Nucleus – a new way to manage aviation data

NATS Services is pioneering a new way of managing critical aeronautical data and information for its customers.

At ATC Global in Amsterdam, NATS demonstrated Nucleus, which centrally manages all aviation data – from telephone numbers to frequencies – and which promises to revolutionise how air navigation service providers make use of this information.

Single European Sky legislation, in the shape of the Aeronautical Data Quality Intended Rulemaking, demands far more robust practices for managing this data and will be enforced by new laws due to be introduced by 2012. Nucleus has been developed to meet specifically these new requirements and is the only solution on the market today to ensure compliance. 

NATS joins North European air navigation service providers (NEAP)

NATS is the latest air navigation services (ANS) provider to join the North European ANS Providers (NEAP) organisation, signing a Memorandum of Co-operation at the ATC Global exhibition in Amsterdam.

NEAP, which was formed three years ago out of the original Nordic Co-operation, now includes nine northern European ANS providers. They aim to provide seamless, cost-effective service to customers across their respective airspace, in line with the Single European Sky project. NEAP’s central focus is on safety, efficiency and environment, seeking common solutions to improving service.

NATS Services, Thales UK and VT Group announce JMATS Agreement

Aquila LogoNATS Services, Thales UK and VT Group have signed an agreement under the name AQUILA Air Traffic Management Services to bid for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Joint Military Air Traffic Services (JMATS) programme.

The three companies bring proven expertise to satisfy the requirements of the JMATS programme, which will deliver enhanced capability and significant through-life cost savings in military air traffic management (ATM). The programme, made up of ATM systems and services, will be delivered at all of the MoD-operated airbases and flying ranges in the UK and overseas and will also provide an out of area ATM capability in support of expeditionary air operations.

Paul Barron at CANSO Middle East

NATS’ CEO Paul Barron delivered an address on the Raising Air Navigation Service Providers’ Performance at the CANSO Middle East Conference in Dubai. The speech, which was directed at fellow leaders in Air Traffic Management, examined the challenges facing the industry and offered suggestions for meeting future demand.

“A fast changing world means we need fast reactions and smart responses to the environment around us and to our customers’ needs.” said Paul. Drawing upon NATS as an example of an ANSP that has had to adapt to increasing customer expectations, Paul offered suggestions for building relationships with airlines, trimming costs, enhancing safety, and investing in training and technology to increase capacity.

“The airlines are changing at unprecedented rate – we have to stay one step ahead to stay in business.” Paul concluded, “But we can raise performance; we just need the vision and the will to do it.”

NATS in the Community

NATS teamed up with the Hampshire Wildlife Trust to build the first two Kingfisher banks in Hampshire, located at the Swanwick Nature Reserve.

Kingfishers are brightly coloured birds that make their nests in cavities, which will be dug into the banks. These banks will provide a safe home for the birds in our increasingly populous region.

This project is part of NATS’ commitment to the Hampshire community. As one of the largest employers in the county, NATS takes great pride in the local environment and our team was delighted to spend a few days creating a habitat for Kingfishers in the nature reserve, which backs onto the NATS Swanwick Air Traffic Control Centre.


UK Flights

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