Air traffic experts will help government

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NATIONAL Air Traffic Services, based at Swanwick, is to give advice to a government body on how to manage the number of planes in our airspace

NATS, the UK’s major provider of air traffic services, is to provide expert airspace advice to the Airports Commission, set up by the government to recommend on future airport capacity in south-east England.

The Airports Commission will contract NATS to look at options for meeting the UK’s aviation airport capacity and needs over the short, medium and long term.

This will inform the commission’s interim report, due to be published by the end of the year, which will provide an assessment of the nature, scale and timing of any need for new capacity.

It will also set out the commission’s recommendations for short and medium-term actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next five years and in relation to any long term options from 2014 onwards.

Richard Deakin, NATS chief executive officer, said: ‘Airports are only as good as the airspace that supports them – and we have unrivalled expertise and understanding of how to make best use of this critical, but invisible pillar of transport infrastructure.

‘I am delighted that the commission recognises the value we can add and we look forward to working with them.’

NATS is the UK’s leading provider of Air Traffic Management services, handling 2.1m flights in 2012/13.

It also provides air traffic control services at 15 major UK airports.