NATS, the air navigation services provider (ANSP) in the UK, has signed a nine-year contract to provide air traffic control (ATC) and engineering services to Belfast International Airport.
The strategic partnership will continue till 30 June 2026, and will involve a whole team of air traffic controllers in addition to an onsite team of engineers.
Under the terms of the deal, the two teams will be deployed at the airport for the entire duration of the contract.
Earlier this year, NATS delivered electronic flight strips to replace the paper strips that were previously used at Belfast Airport.
The new electronic flight strips help reduce the workload of the air traffic controllers and support capacity growth.
NATS Belfast International general manager Michael Cockcroft said: “The airport is going from strength to strength, with record numbers of passengers travelling through every day and all of us at NATS are looking forward to working together to help successfully manage and drive this growth, safely and efficiently.”
Last year, the UK airport handled record traffic growth with more than 5.4 million passengers travelling through its gates.
This year, it expects passenger figures to rise to 5.7 million.
Belfast International Airport operations director Alan Whiteside said: “This very sizable contract underlines our belief in the quality and professionalism of the service we receive from NATS.
“We confidently anticipate further passenger and aircraft growth, and with increased activity levels comes greater reliance on air traffic controllers who play such a pivotal role in our overall operations.”
Image: NATS enters into strategic partnership with Belfast International Airport. Photo: © Copyright NATS Limited.