NATS and Heathrow agree strategic business partnership – to make more money all round
NATS and Heathrow agree strategic partnership
8.6.2015 (NATS press release)
NATS and Heathrow Airport have entered a new strategic partnership, signalling a fundamental change to the relationship between the airport and air traffic services provider.
As part of the agreement, Heathrow and NATS will jointly create a long term business partnership with shared objectives aligned to what Heathrow is seeking to achieve over the coming years.
The partnership is performance led and has at its heart a set of working principles and specific incentivised targets in areas from delay performance and service resilience through to cutting aircraft noise.
Through the partnership NATS and Heathrow Airport will seek to drive year-on-year performance improvements through innovations in service and technology that realise benefits for airlines and help deliver a world class passenger experience for the travelling public.
Derek Provan, Heathrow Airport Airside Director, said: “At Heathrow Airport we have a challenging decade ahead. By bringing together the knowledge, experience and resources of our combined organisations we will be better placed to meet the demands of our airfield and customers going forward.”
Mike Stoller, NATS Director of Airport Operations, said: “NATS has worked with Heathrow Airport for decades, but this really is a big shift in the nature of that relationship. We’ve moved from being an important supplier to true partners with aligned goals that allow us to share both the rewards of success and consequences of failure in a totally transparent and accountable way.”
The strategic partnership agreement was signed in April.
Note to editors:
The agreement has been signed between NATS Services Ltd and Heathrow Airport Ltd.
Comment from an AirportWatch member:
It looks to be as if Heathrow are looking to have more say in NATS decisions, particularly in the light of last year’s fiasco when Heathrow were not told of the changes. That brought to a head a frustration with NATS that had been simmering for quite some time.
At the most recent meeting, the 3rd on 18th May, of the Heathrow Community Noise Forum, this agreement was not mentioned.
Germany’s DFS air traffic service beats NATS to control Gatwick flights below 4,000 feet
Gatwick Airport’s air traffic control services are to be provided by a German state-owned company from next year. A 10-year contract for services below 4,000ft around the airport has been given to Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS). The service has been provided for more than 30 years by Hampshire-based NATS, which will continue to navigate air traffic above 4,000ft. NATS said it was disappointed, but it was too early to say if jobs would go. DFS is wholly owned by the German government and operates 16 airports in Germany as well as providing air traffic control across the country. Gatwick management said it was planned that, after a period of transition, DFS would start work in October 2015. The successful bid by DFS comes a year after a UK pension fund, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) beat DFS for a 20% stake in NATS. The Airline Group, which had owned 42% of NATS before the sale, chose USS rather than DFS to buy the 20%, which meant that a partial de-facto merger between two of the largest European Air Navigation Service Providers did not happen.
Heathrow says it did not know flight path changes were continuing – blames NATS for not telling them
Heathrow and NATS had flight path trials during summer 2014, which ended on 12th November, due to intense opposition. See details. But complaints have continued and people have been adamant that the trials have not ended. Heathrow has given assurance after assurance that the trials have ceased, implying people are imagining the noise – or have become over-sensitive to it. Now Heathrow and NATS have had to apologise. Heathrow says it did not know the trial affecting the “Compton” route to the south west and west of Heathrow had not ended, as NATS had not informed them. As NATS and Heathrow work closely together, that is very hard to believe. Even if it could be credible, it reveals a markedly dismissive attitude to the thousands of upset residents, who have complained week after week. The airport had made no apparent effort to establish the facts, for many months. The areas particularly affected by this change are Virginia Water, Ascot, Binfield and some parts of Bracknell, which are experiencing a concentrated flight path. John Holland-Kaye said: “Because of the assurances we received [from NATS], we in turn told residents in good faith that no changes had occurred. That is unacceptable and I unequivocally apologise to local residents.” However, NATS say they changed the route to improve the safe and efficient management of traffic departing from Heathrow and they are not planning to revert to previous procedures.