Prestwick hosts aerospace industry conference
NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services, hosted a conference at its Prestwick Control Centre on 5 September 2013, as part of a series of events taking place during the Prestwick World Festival of Flight 2013.
NATS Operations Director at Prestwick, Alastair Muir, was one of several speakers at the event and talked about air traffic services for the next generation. Speaking to an audience of aviation enthusiasts and industry peers, Alastair touched upon the transformational journey that air traffic control (ATC) is now on and the benefits of the Single European Sky programme, which will modernise the European ATC network in a harmonised approach.
He also referred to the fortunate location of the NATS Control Centre, confirming that, “Prestwick’s geographic position gives us the opportunity to develop influential and meaningful relationships. The North Atlantic airspace covered by the NATS Prestwick Centre means we provide the ATC service to some 80% of the aircraft transitioning between Europe and North America. That makes use a key player in future harmonisation programmes.”
The conference as a whole focused on ‘The Future of the UK Aerospace Industry’ and highlighted the success of the significant civil aerospace hub in and around Prestwick, placing it in a UK, European and global context. Key issues discussed by speakers, which included Michael Moore, Secretary of State, covered new technology, training and skills, research and development – and what the future might hold – to ensure the industry can maximise opportunities for future growth.
Attendees at the conference were also offered the unique opportunity to observe the workings of the operations room at Prestwick Control Centre from the viewing gallery, where air traffic controllers manage approximately 1.1 million aircraft per year in the largest area of airspace in Europe.