UK’s air navigation service provider (NATS) and the European Commission Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) have signed €26m agreements to accelerate the country’s airspace modernisation efforts.
The EU funding will help the UK upgrade its air traffic management systems in support of delivering a Single European Sky.
The grant agreements are in response to INEA’s 2015 Multi-Annual Call for projects that support the EU’s Connection Europe Facility (CEF) programme.
They will help NATS deploy the Single European Sky ATM research programme (SESAR), which will make air travel in Europe safer and environmentally friendly.
NATS Service, Strategy and Transformation director Paul Haskins said: “NATS is committed to delivering SESAR and is accelerating its deployment activities to bring benefits to its customers at the earliest possible opportunity.
“This INEA funding will help us to achieve that.”
The grants will be used in various projects that will help NATS deliver essential systems upgrades and a new operations room at the Swanwick Centre, which controls a large portion of the UK's airspace.
As part of NATS’ implementation of the European Air Traffic Management (ATM) Master Plan and related SESAR Solutions, the projects will help NATS to safely manage forecast growth in UK air traffic of 50% by 2030.
INEA director Dirk Beckers said: “The EU is continuing its support for projects bringing the Single European Sky forward and I am confident that NATS will deliver at their end so that our citizens can benefit from improvements in air travel.”
Image: Paul Haskins and Dirk Beckers sign agreements worth €26m. Photo: courtesy of NATS.