Responsible Business
summary report

Managing aircraft safely and efficiently is our priority, and doing so in a way that minimises their environmental impact has become increasingly important as traffic volumes have increased. Part of why we publish this Responsible Business report is to outline what we do above and beyond our core role in air traffic management, demonstrate the contribution that enlightened air traffic control can make, and how we interact with customers and the general public. Of course there is more to do; there always is. This is an area of our work that NATS takes very seriously and we will continue to work hard every day to ensure that we are the best we can possibly be.



Martin Rolfe


Pictured from left to right: Andrew Burke, Adele Miller, Dr Jarlath Molloy, James Deeley, Ian Jopson
Sarah White, Gillian Davies and Dr Holly Edwards.

Making a real difference to airspace



additional flights achieved continuous descent operations

A considered approach to noise

For airports and their communities, noise is a critical issue. We are striving to make improvements in our network, around our airports and in our control centres to be quieter, cleaner and more receptive to community concerns.

Turning down the volume on continuous descents

A smooth continuous descent, instead of a series of steps, results in quieter, more fuel-efficient landings. We have been able to support 15 airports across the UK and 22 airlines to make this more widespread.

NATS helped deliver an additional 31,639 quieter flights in 2015, which also saved 1,740 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Our efforts have been recognised by Business in the Community in their Responsible Business Awards for the third year running.

ATM related CO2 emissions


tonnes of ATM related CO2 emissions saved last year for airlines, worth £3.4m in fuel costs*

Cutting CO2 emissions in our airspace

We are the first air navigation service provider to set an airspace environmental target – to reduce ATM related CO2 emissions by 10% by 2020 and we’re currently tracking at 4.3%.

ATC across borders

Our collaboration with fellow air navigation service providers on Cross Border Arrival Management (XMAN) has continued to streamline the flow of aircraft into Heathrow airport. Working with controllers in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, aircraft can be slowed before they are near UK airspace. What began as a trial has been so successful that it entered permanent operational service in October 2015.


London calling

We successfully brought in the first phase of airspace change over the south east of England in February 2016. The changes include an arrivals system for London City airport which keeps aircraft over the sea instead of over land, new departure routes for London City to enable aircraft to climb to higher altitudes more quickly and changes to allow daytime traffic departing Stansted airport to climb higher more quickly. High level changes, from 7,000ft, have also been implemented along the south coast affecting Bournemouth, Southampton and TAG Farnborough airports. This means fewer flights over land.

* using an average fuel price of£315 per tonne for FY2015-16

Airspace efficiency (3Di)


of the 3Di target was achieved

In 2012, NATS and the CAA agreed a methodology for measuring airspace efficiency, called three dimensional efficiency score (or 3Di). The 2015 average 3Di score was 30.1, just behind the target of 29.7 and within the service performance range set by the regulator. We continue to identify and target improvements in airspace efficiency.


Making a real difference to airspace


renewable electricity on our primary electricity contract



18 Olympic swimming pools could be filled with the water we have saved



family homes could be powered a year from the energy savings made on our estate

Environmental Management System

We have put an environmental management system (EMS) in place to control our impact on the environment. The EMS at our Corporate and Technical Centre has been certificated to the ISO14001 standard. In 2016 we will see the system develop broader coverage across the company.

Great Lakes: Swanwick’s nature reserve re-accredited

The nature reserve we created when the Swanwick control centre was built on the site of an old brickworks continues to be a valuable natural site and resource for schools and nearby communities. Managed by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, it has been re-accredited under the Biodiversity Benchmark.

Making a real difference
in communities where we operate


donated to charity from NATS’ Footprint Fund



raised by 8% of staff from payroll charitable giving

Charitable giving

Now in its eighth year, our Footprint Fund has continued to support local charities and make a long lasting difference to communities in which we work. This year we awarded 39 successful applications as well as matched funding for numerous sponsored events for national charities.

Employees do a phenomenal amount of fundraising across the business, including both payroll giving and support for individual charities.

New horizons for the next generation

Engineers play a critical role with us. From day-to-day responsibilities to delivering new innovations and improvements, engineering across the spectrum is a company-critical skill. Each year around 1,000 people apply for one of our direct entry graduate, apprenticeship or industrial placement positions, and around 50 are successful. A number of those go on to careers at NATS.


In 2015, NATS staff organised the Scottish Airshow near Prestwick airport, Scotland’s largest single day outdoor event. A special focus for the organisers was to support young people seeking careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Our controllers also volunteered for the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in support of the Royal Airforce Charitable Trust.


Charity flights

Dreamflight offers young children, many who suffer from terminal illnesses, the once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel to Orlando, Florida. Our partnership with Dreamflight, now in its fourth year, means we waive air traffic control fees for the flights and give the flights special treatment, allowing them to fly at lower altitude and offering route flexibility to help them avoid areas of turbulence.



visitors at two air shows supported by NATS staff

Making a real difference
as a responsible business


of staff have a low emissions car from our salary sacrifice scheme



visitor’s life saved with defibrillation

Health and wellness

Facilities management, occupational health and the human resource team at our Prestwick centre won three awards over the past year from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Ayrshire Business Award.

Working with our suppliers

The nature of our company means we rely heavily on our suppliers, for example software manufacturers responsible for a business-critical function.

In 2015 we introduced a new due diligence procedure which updates our approach. This covers aspects such as supplier policies for anti-corruption, bribery, cybersecurity and environmental management and is a robust element of NATS as a responsible business.

External verification and assurance

Independent consultancy Carbon Credentials has collected the greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water data for this financial year, following implementation of the GHG Protocol.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) has also undertaken an independent “limited assurance” review on the same data. For more info see the main Responsible Business report.


We hear you

Our customer and stakeholder perspectives - including the general public - are very important to us. We aim to be responsive to your views in the services we provide. Please do get in touch as we genuinely welcome constructive feedback.

We invite you to read the full
Responsible Business 2015-16 report on our website: