Today (Friday 18th November 2016), NATS, the UK’s Air Navigation Service Provider and INEA, the European Commission Innovation and Networks Executive Agency, signed grant agreements totalling €26m of EU funding which will help the UK accelerate the upgrading of its air traffic management systems in support of delivering a Single European Sky.
UK’s airspace modernization
The Grant Agreements
The Grant Agreements are in response to INEA’s 2015 Multi-Annual Call for projects supporting the European Union’s Connection Europe Facility (CEF) programme and will help NATS in its deployment of SESAR (the Single European Sky ATM research programme), which will make air travel in Europe safer, cheaper and more environmentally friendly, as well as increasing capacity to meet future demand.
Essential systems upgrades and a new Operations Room at the Swanwick Centre
The projects being funded by the grants will help NATS deliver essential systems upgrades and a new Operations Room at the Swanwick Centre, from which London and much of wider UK airspace is controlled. The projects form part of NATS’ implementation of the European Air Traffic Management (ATM) Master Plan and related SESAR Solutions and will help enable NATS to safely and efficiently manage forecast growth in UK air traffic of 50% by 2030, benefitting both the UK and the wider European network.
Ceremony in Brussels
Paul Haskins, Director of Service, Strategy and Transformation at NATS and Mr Dirk Beckers, Director of the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) formally exchanged signed copies of four Grant Agreements at a ceremony in Brussels.
Mr Haskins said
“NATS is committed to delivering SESAR and is accelerating its deployment activities to bring benefits to its customers at the earliest possible opportunity. This INEA funding will help us to achieve that.”
Mr Dirk Beckers added:
"The EU is continuing its support for projects bringing the Single European Sky forward and I am confident that NATS will deliver at their end so that our citizens can benefit from improvements in air travel."
NATS is a leading air navigation services specialist, handling 2.3 million flights in 2015, covering the UK and eastern North Atlantic. NATS provides air traffic control from centres at Swanwick, Hampshire and Prestwick, Ayrshire.
NATS also provides air traffic control services at 14 UK airports including Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester and Glasgow; at Gibraltar Airport and, in a joint venture with Ferrovial, at a number of airport towers in Spain.
Building on its reputation for operational excellence and innovation, NATS also offers aerodrome, data, engineering and consultancy solutions to customers worldwide, including airports, air traffic service providers and Governments. There is more information on the NATS website at www.nats.aero
The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) is the successor organisation of the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T EA), which was created by the European Commission in 2006 to manage the technical and financial implementation of its TEN-T programme.
Its mission is to support the Commission, project promoters and stakeholders by providing expertise and high quality of programme management to infrastructure, research and innovation projects in the fields of transport, energy and telecommunications, and to promote synergies between these activities, to benefit economic growth and EU citizens. ec.europa.eu/inea
The specific Agreements are:
- Design of New NATS Systems to support SESAR Implementation
- Enablers to Support SESAR Deployment
- New NERL Operational Facilities Phase 1
- CNS Rationalisation
Source: NATS communication