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UK Airports Transition to NATS Electronic Flight Strips

UK’s air traffic control provider NATS is set to install a new electronic flight strip system called EXCDS, in place of paper strips, at its London Terminal Control Centre.

After successfully completing two out of five transitions onto EXCDS, NATS is now about to start the third. The London upgrade will cover services at Heathrow, Gatwick and the airspace to the south and south-east.

The latest digital system will enable the airports to record flight information, such as the direction, speed and altitude of every aircraft.

EXCDS will simplify coordination between air traffic controllers, reducing controller workload and introduce a conformance monitoring tool into the London Terminal Control operation for the first time.

The transition from paper-based strips to the new digital air traffic control system is set to take place over a period of ten days, during which there could be flight delays and increased noise in the London.

Following the implementation, the amount of air traffic is expected to reduce by 20% for the first ten days to allow controllers to learn the new system, followed by a 10% reduction for the remaining period.

London Terminal Control Centre general manager Pete Dawson said that moving to a digital tool was a crucial step in preparing for future traffic levels.

The centre manages the airspace over London and the south-east, some of the busiest and complex airspaces in the world.

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