Using stakeholder partnerships to maintain success and secure the future
A NATS case study

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Page 1: Introduction

NATS is the world’s leading provider of a range of air traffic services. This includes providing air traffic control (ATC) services for some of the world’s busiest airports. It is constantly seeking to create solutions to the air space and airport runway optimisation issues in the aviation industry. NATS was established as a national body within the UK in 1962 and in 2001 became a Public/Private Partnership (PPP). This new model of ownership led to more investment (over £2b since the PPP), which in turn has improved NATS’ safety performance, operational efficiency and output through continued innovation. A major part of its business is to provide air traffic control services in the UK. The experience and expertise of its highly trained workforce is critical to solving the multitude of challenges faced by the aviation industry around the world. NATS is also responsible for the world’s busiest section of airspace, including Gatwick and Heathrow. Air traffic does not rest or sleep, so the company operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, including Christmas Day.

NATS has built its reputation on providing a wide range of services to the world’s busiest airports and airspaces, with safety and efficiency the key factors of operation. NATS has a
safety record that is second to none. Whilst safety is the key reason for NATS’ existence, there are six key focus areas of the business. These include: Airspace; Airports; Engineering; Consultancy; Information and Defence service lines which are full profit and loss led business platforms. The specialist services offered by NATS range from managing airspace (ATC) and runways, to providing consultancy and solutions in fields such as: operational; environmental; engineering infrastructure; specialist aviation software design; satellite based solutions; defence services and training.

Within each service area NATS strives for total customer satisfaction. NATS boasts the best performance of aircraft on time departures and arrivals, with the lowest delay figures of any air traffic control company. Its safety system, which is used by other countries as a model, is sold through the Aero NATS Ltd side of the business. While each service line can provide solutions to problems, they can also work closely with each other. This provides seamless, multi-faceted solutions tailored for today’s complex aviation environment.

NATS does, however, still face many challenges, and one of the biggest they are facing at the moment is the continuing development of its technology platforms. As technology continues to evolve and improve, it’s vital for NATS that they are at the forefront. This is no simple feat, from ensuring staff are fully trained in up-to-date methods to providing Nats 19 Image 1a continuous operation whilst technological transitions occur. These technological developments play a huge factor in allowing the airline industry to meet their environmental and operational efficiency targets. These are achieved by reducing fossil fuel burn levels by designing higher levels of flight efficiency and reducing the inbound holding delays.

NATS | Using stakeholder partnerships to maintain success and secure the future