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NATS air traffic delays drop by 95 percent during London 2012

NATS has announced the traffic results for the UK’s busiest period – during the London 2012 Olympic Games. Results show growth in air traffic and a steep decline in delays by 95 per cent over the same period in the previous year.

Traffic in the London area was up 3.5 per cent for a number of days, peaking at 4.5 per cent. Traffic at Farnborough and Biggin Hill airports rose by 16 per cent and 19 per cent respectively on peak days.

Delays attributed to NATS throughout the whole Olympics period were only 593 minutes. This was a significant drop from last year’s figure for the same period, which was over 13,000 minutes.

John Swift, Director Middle East, NATS said: “Guaranteeing and successfully managing the smooth arrival and departure of an additional five million visitors to the UK is a testimony to our expertise and hard work. Air traffic management is often misunderstood by the general public. When we do our job well, people don’t notice that we’ve facilitated smooth, efficient and on time performance, and that is what we delivered this summer.”

“Our team started preparing for the London 2012 four years ago working with different stakeholders such as airports, airlines and the military. In that time, we developed a new airspace design and changed the methods of our operations to cater to the need of the increase traffic during the London 2012.”

NATS Security Operation

NATS also facilitated the biggest airborne security operation since World War II. The military air traffic control cell operating from the NATS centre at Swanwick in Hampshire provided round the clock security surveillance. NATS controllers facilitated the integration of the military operations over London to ensure the minimum delay to civil aviation.

Countries next in line to stage the Olympic Games have approached NATS for advice following the success achieved in airspace management and security during London 2012.

Officials from air traffic control in Brazil observed much of the NATS operation during the past three weeks as they prepare for Rio 2016. NATS has also had a delegation from Russian air traffic control ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

John added: “London 2012 have demonstrated that efficient air traffic control is the solution to airspace congestion faced by many countries including countries in the Gulf region.”

“To ensure the future growth of Gulf aviation, states should ensure they manage carefully their investment in airspace infrastructure. This is the time for countries to implement effective, efficient air traffic management systems and acknowledge that a regional solution is required to ensure this growth occurs in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner.”

The company has previously worked with Dubai Airports Company on developing concepts of operations and procedure design for the new Al Maktoum International Airport, as well as an operational performance summary of Dubai International Airport. NATS has also worked with Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain to support safe and efficient operation of their airspace.


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