Gatwick Airport reappoints NATS as air traffic service provider

LONDON – Gatwick Airport has reappointed NATS as their air traffic service after the contract with the previous provider has come to an end over the weekend.

NATS now provide air traffic services at all 5 London airports after 6 years. 

It has been understood that all previous controllers and workers have been transferred from the previously provided to NATS. 

NATS also plans to train and recruit new controllers within the coming months.

Gatwick Airport & NATS Statement

Gatwick Airport’s CEO, Stewart Wingate, said: “NATS comes with a world-beating reputation for providing air traffic control service.”

“We’re looking forward to working closely together to build resilience in the years ahead, which of course, will benefit our passengers, airlines, employees, and the region’s wider economy.”

“I would like to pass on my gratitude to Air Navigation Solutions Limited for supplying air traffic control services at the airport over the past six years.”

The CEO of NATS, Martin Rolfe added: “For Gatwick to invite us back speaks to the faith they have in NATS to both deliver the best possible service and to support the airport’s longer-term strategic objectives.”

“Our first priority is to enhance the resilience of the air traffic operation so we can deliver the kind of service the airport, its airlines, and their passengers will need for the future.”

Hard at work

After only being reappointed as Gatwick Airport’s air service provider, they are hard at work on hiring new and experienced controllers and also getting current controllers familiar with new procedures that they would like to put in place.

NATS are looking into deploying its Approach arrival spacing tool, the first time this would happen at a single-runway mixed-mode airport where take-offs and landings occur on the same runway. 

Their aim with this is to deliver better on-time performance, reduce C02 emissions, and increase revenue. 

According to their website, “Intelligent Approach is a suite of tools we’ve developed with Leidos that allow air traffic controllers to improve the consistency of spacing between arriving aircraft, thereby maximizing runway efficiency.”

“The software generates markers between arrivals based on the individual aircraft type and the type of aircraft in front, so controllers can more readily hit the optimum spacing. Those markers can be based on either time or distance-based intervals.”

After NATS return to Gatwick Airport, I can certainly see many new procedures coming into place and a smoother way of running things. I wish the best for them. NATS have handled 29 million flights in the UK in the last year, 50% of pre-pandemic traffic levels. 

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