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Click to see video of NATS new Prestwick Centre

ATC Consoles

Click to see video of NATS original ATC  Centre

NATS new Prestwick air traffic control centre opens


NATS press release, Monday Jan 25




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 service.


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 in Ayr.


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 pollution.


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 capabilities.


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.

ATC Consoles