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NATS, the UK’s leading air traffic services provider, has successfully introduced its new Hub and Spoke Electronic Flight Progress Strip (EFPS) system at Farnborough Airport.
The new system will incorporate the airport’s tower and approach services as well as its Lower Airspace Radar Service (LARS) that last year handled just short of 100,000 flightsits introduction marks the beginning of a new era at Farnborough Airport which, having also handled more than 27,000 airport movements last year, is home to the busiest lower airspace radar area in the UK.
The roll-out follows the system’s successful implementation last October at Belfast International and Belfast City airports, when controllers stopped using paper strips to record aircraft information in favour of electronic flight progress data using new Hub and Spoke system architecture.
While the concept of electronic strips is not new, all NATS’ Hub and Spoke systems link to a centralised set of data servers to drive operational screens in connected airports. This removes the need for every airport air traffic control tower to host its own locally-installed servers and the provision of individual data links at a specific site.
The new electronic flight information system delivers significant benefits in infrastructure costs as well as enhancing the way in which airport towers can share data, thanks to its ability to transfer and share data from the same single database. In Farnborough’s case, the airport operator has successfully developed a new stand-management system as an interface with its EFPS, the integration of which has already demonstrated significant operational benefits.
The new system, which will also be introduced at Bristol, Southampton, Cardiff and London City, means that controller workload is reduced, bringing safety and capacity benefits as controllers have more time to handle more flights and monitor increased levels of air traffic.
Maggie Gault, NATS General Manager, Farnborough Airport said: “For NATS Farnborough, this is the first step towards an integrated electronic ATM system. The new system will lead to a more effective and efficient service for our customer, TAG Farnborough Airport, as well as the wider aviation community.”