UK air traffic controllers NATS warn of over-crowded skies – so they must “modernise” systems
The skies in the south east of England are among the most crowded anywhere in the world. And the government wants a new Heathrow runway, and expansion in numbers of flights at all other airports. But NATS, the UK's National Air Traffic Control Service, says their ability to deal with this surge is being stretched to the limit. The air traffic controllers warn that UK skies are running out of room amid a record number of flights. Friday 21st July is likely to be the busiest day of the year, as Brits take off for their foreign holidays.Air traffic controllers expect to manage a record 770,000 flights in UK airspace over the summer - 40,000 more than last year. NATS can only deal with the stunning number of flights anticipated if they get drastic modernisation in the way aircraft are guided across UK airspace. Otherwise there would be delays (and the industry does not like delays - they affect profits). The DfT has put out a consultation on how it will expand the UK aviation sector, and has had to mention noise as one of the inevitable consequences of the intended increase in numbers of flights. NATS needs airspace to be modified, with more concentrated flight paths. But the DfT, the CAA and NATS still have no clear idea (other than platitudes) how to manage the increased noise, without creating noise "ghettos" or noise "sewers" where the amount of aircraft noise is, frankly, above what people should be expected to tolerate.
22 Jul 2017