ATM Modernization

UK Airports Transition to NATS Electronic Flight Strips

By S.L. Fuller | October 19, 2017

The Belfast International airport and the Belfast City airport in Northern Ireland have been transitioned from paper to electronic flight strips, NATS said. NATS completed the transition earlier this year.

According to NATS, the transition occurred after a 10-month program which used new Hub and Spoke system architecture. A “first” for the U.K., NATS said, the electronic strip concept sees all airports in the Hub and Spoke system linked to a single set of data servers at NATS Swanwick Control Center. Since the servers drive the screens in the operation rooms at the airports connected to it, the need for every airport air traffic control tower to have its own locally installed servers and individual data links feeding the workstations at a specific site is removed.

NATS said following the success at both Belfast airports, it plans to introduce the system at Bristol, Southampton, Farnborough, Cardiff and London City Airports. Farnborough is set to go live with the technology before the end of the year.

“The advantages of our Hub and Spoke system will be felt operationally but also by our airport customers, as the common system and method of operations can be adapted to suit each bespoke airport and delivered into service in significantly less time than traditional systems,” said Iain Harris, director of service operations for NATS. “This offering is another example of NATS utilizing new technology to modernize air traffic control, safely and efficiently, and offer value for money in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

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