George Best Belfast City Airport (BCA) in Northern Ireland has awarded a contract to UK-based air traffic solutions provider NATS to deliver new air traffic control (ATC) services at the airport.

The contract marks the first time that ATC services at the airport have been given to an external company.

BCA operations director Mark Beattie said: “We were delighted with the level of interest from top tier air navigation service providers (ANSPs) resulting in an open and highly competitive tender process.

“We are confident that NATS will provide an air traffic service that delivers high levels of customer service, stakeholder engagement and will ensure alignment with relevant best practice.”

Under the terms of the contract, NATS will be responsible for managing the safety and efficiency of the airport’s 42,000 arrivals and departures handled every year.

"Our performance in UK air traffic management, our ability to deliver innovation, and really understanding what the Belfast City Airport needed were key reasons for our successful bid."

NATS airports director Mike Stoller said: “Our performance in UK air traffic management, our ability to deliver innovation, and really understanding what the Belfast City Airport needed were key reasons for our successful bid.

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“We’ve built innovation in to our service proposal to enhance the quality and resilience of the operation I would like to welcome the tower team into the NATS family.”

NATS has been providing engineering services to BCA since 2007.

It will now provide the airport with several other service enhancements, including the introduction of electronic flight progress strips.

BCA's existing air traffic employees will join NATS, which formally took over the service on 1 July.


Image: George Best Belfast City Airport in Northern Ireland, Europe. Photo: courtesy of NATS.