Efficiency and scale at Manchester Airport

It takes a true partnership to run a machine as complex as Manchester Airport. NATS has been the air navigation service provider at Manchester for decades, and in that time we’ve developed a very close working relationship with the operations team at Manchester Airport Group (MAG).

Performance excellence

Manchester Airport is the third busiest airport in the United Kingdom in terms of passenger numbers. It’s the largest outside London and provides flights to around 225 destinations – more than any other airport in the UK. The airport has over 100 airline customers operating a global network of scheduled, charter and freight services.

Each year Manchester handles well over 22 million passengers, over 170,000 air traffic movements and around 120,000 tonnes of freight.

Manchester Airport air traffic movements per year
Source: http://www.caa.co.uk/airportstatistics

As traffic continues to grow we maintain a consistently high level of performance

The Civil Aviation Authority’s annual statistics show the airport has a remarkably steady record on punctuality.

Manchester Airport annual punctuality statistics
Source: http://www.caa.co.uk/punctuality

Safety and the Environment

NATS safety record at Manchester Airport is exemplary, with just 2 runway incursions recorded in 2014 down from 17 in 2007, an incursion is recorded when there is an incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle or person on a runway or its associated protected areas. Also in 2014 we recorded just seven level busts in Manchester Airports airspace, down from 19 in 2007, these are recorded when there’s an unauthorised vertical deviation of more than 300 feet from an ATC flight clearance.

We’re also committed to environmental excellence. We aim to direct aircraft along noise preferential routes, which take them away from built up areas so that any noise impact is minimised. We also continue to successfully promote the use of Continuous Descent Approach for arriving aircraft, which reduces both noise and emissions.

Aircaft departing on noise preferential departure routes
Aircraft arriving using continuous descent approach
Source: MAG Corporate Social Responsibility report

Keith Kent, NATS Manager of Operations and Training at Manchester Airport, receiving the environmental certificate from Sharon Mahony, Eurocontrol Aviation Environmental Analyst

A partnership approach yields great results, and not just in the statistics. In 2014 we were proud to part of the team at Manchester Airport to be awarded the Eurocontrol certificate of Collaborative Environment Management – the first one given to an airport – in recognition of our work in Manchester. NATS worked together with Manchester Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority and six airlines to optimize the flight paths in and out of Manchester, cutting emissions and saving money for the airlines.

Co-operating to deliver excellence

In 2012 Manchester Airport commenced the construction of a new air traffic control tower ready for operation in 2013. The new tower is a standalone, purpose built building, with the base housing a new equipment centre and offices for NATS air traffic control. At 60m high with 360-degree panoramic views, it provides unrivalled views of the entire airfield operation. The tower is also home to a new visual control room, an approach radar room and navigation, surveillance and communication equipment to ensure air traffic control can effectively service the long-term investment and future growth of the airport.

For more detail about the tower and how NATS controls the airspace around Manchester Airport, visit The Anatomy Of A Control Tower.

Shifting airfield operations to the new tower was a massive and complex task, involving intense and minutely detailed planning to ensure no impact to air traffic movements. The day passed without a hitch, leading Rad Taylor, Manchester Airport’s Operations Director to describe it as “the biggest non-event in history”.

The secret of delivering this outstanding performance like this is a true partnership – NATS and Manchester Airport working side by side, every day.

Click Play to hear how John Mayhew, NATS’ General Manager at Manchester and his opposite number at MAG, Rad Taylor, work together to keep the North West flying, speaking every day, meeting weekly, sharing objectives, targets and a vision for Manchester Airport.

Building a bright future for Manchester Airport

NATS’ performance excellence was recognised in 2014, when MAG and NATS signed an agreement confirming a new ten-year contract for air traffic control and engineering services at Manchester airport. Andrew Cowan, Chief Operating Officer for MAG, said: “We believe that NATS is best placed to deliver a modern and efficient air traffic control service; we look forward to continuing our strong working relationship and growing a positive future for our airport.”

Manchester Airport has ambitious plans for the future – adding new destinations and expanding capacity - and Department of Transport projections foresee air traffic movements at Manchester more than doubling by 2050.

Manchester Airport historical and projected air traffic movements per year
Source: http://www.caa.co.uk/airportstatistics, Dept. of Transport UK Aviation Forecasts, Jan 2013

NATS is working alongside MAG to realise these goals, getting the most out of current infrastructure and planning for the future, redesigning the airspace around the airport and modelling airfield layouts to deliver the capacity needed without compromising safety, operational performance or the environment.

Press Play to hear from John Mayhew and Rad Taylor again, along with Scott Alexander from our Analytics team as they talk about the work already under way to help Manchester Airport grow and serve a resurgent North West.

If you’d like to know more about how NATS is working with Manchester Airport and our other clients and partners - airlines, airports, ANSPs and governments – we’d love to hear from you. You can find out how to contact us at http://www.nats.aero/contact/

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