Statement from NATS – Future London Airport Capacity

18 January 2012

NATS very much welcomes the Government’s plan to consult on how to ensure the UK retains international hub status.  Aviation is a vitally important driver of the UK economy and we are pleased the Government acknowledges that. Runway capacity in the south east is currently insufficient to support demand which often results in aircraft needing to be placed in holding patterns before they can land.  It is also important to recognise that airspace is as constrained as ground infrastructure in this region. NATS, which has unparalleled expertise in airspace design and implementation including work on airspace to support the new Hong Kong airport will play a full role in the Government consultation.

Any additional runway capacity, regardless of the specific location the Government decides, will require major redesign of airspace – the largest for 50 years. Redesign will ultimately enable NATS to manage growing traffic more efficiently, to review air traffic control procedures to minimise noise for people living below flight paths and to reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions. This work will optimise the use of the UK’s national airspace asset but it is critical to know as early as possible what ground infrastructure the airspace arrangements will need to support.

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