PRINCESS ROYAL TO OPEN SCOTLAND’S NEW AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTRE
More than 130 air traffic controllers and support staff have completed the successful
move from Manchester to Ayrshire as the new £180m Prestwick Centre enters full operational
The last stage of the plan to merge the two centres was completed this weekend, on
time and under budget. It brings to an end 35 years of en route and terminal manoeuvre
air traffic control from the centre in Manchester.
Staff at Manchester handled the final aircraft from the old operations room in the
early hours of Saturday morning before handing over executive control to their colleagues
On February 5, HRH the Princess Royal will formally open the new centre, which controls
42 per cent of the 2.2m flights in the UK’s controlled airspace.
NATS Chief Executive Paul Barron said: “Many people have worked very hard over the
course of this project to ensure everything is delivered on time, under budget and
with minimum disruption to the service we provide to the airlines.
“We have set great store by a transition of this size which we brought in without
affecting our 24-hour, 365-day operation, on which the UK depends. It gives us a
strong platform to implement the new technologies we are developing to offer more
capacity, reduce emissions and increase safety and to keep NATS at the forefront
of air traffic control innovation.”
Controllers managing Oceanic airspace, Scottish airspace and military airspace have
already made a seamless switch to their new home from their old operations rooms
in their former headquarters nearby.
The transition is the culmination of a ten-year strategy to manage the UK’s controlled
airspace from two centres instead of four. Prestwick, near Glasgow, and Swanwick,
in Hampshire, are now in charge of the UK’s controlled airspace after the closure
of the Manchester centre and, three years ago, the centre at West Drayton near Heathrow.
Both new centres will enable greater efficiencies and the roll-out of new technology
and air traffic control systems.
FOSAIR at Prestwick
240 Fosair Modular Consoles are now fully operational at NATS Prestwick Centre.
Driven by the search for safety through innovation and efficiency, the NATS development
team planned with foresight a new and flexible approach to the new advances in ATM
technology, the need for integration throughout Europe, and the reduction of air
The FOSAIR Controller Console was chosen as the most adaptable modular work platform
available to service NATS over the next 25 years. The development team painstakingly
investigated the potential changes in technology likely to come on stream over two
decades, the capabilities of ATCO’s to manage change, the comfort of operatives and
above all, levels of safety that needed to be maintained. The FOSAIR console provided
multi-task and interchangeable configurations and with all above top hardware suspended,
a perfect ergonomic solution for the health and safety of controllers.
The front-loading hardware access feature within the console, allowed NATS to increase
the number of consoles at the new Centre by approximately 30%, giving future expansion
The foresight at planning stage ensured:
· User acceptance
· Interoperability with other
‘systems’ within Europe
· Easy non-disruptive upgrades and
migration paths to new generation
· Technical and Human Factor compliance.
· The ability to manage controlled air
space to minimum carbon emission.
· Common working practices for
Controllers throughout the UK.
For further information on Fosair Consoles, or assistance with your current or future
ATC related project please contact us.