NATS, the UK National Air Traffic Services, has commenced the introduction of the new EXCDS electronic flight strip system into its London Terminal Control Centre, which manages the airspace over London and the South East.
NATS will be limiting the volumes of traffic that enter the airspace they control for a short period during the initial stages of the transition. For the first 10 days, from Wednesday 4th April, there will be a 20% reduction in the maximum volume of traffic handled by those sectors, reducing to 10% for the subsequent 10 days. However, some London flights may be delayed.
EXCDS will replace the existing paper strips system, which will not cope with the demand that is forecast for the future. A flight strip is one of the core elements of an air traffic control system, providing an air traffic controller with all the relevant information about each individual aircraft, including its speed, altitude and destination.
EXCDS is part of a broader 10-year £1 billion technology transformation programme at NATS, which will update many of the core systems used to manage air traffic in order to meet forecast growth, improve efficiency and reduce impact on the environment, while also maintaining and improving already high safety levels.