National Air Traffic Services (NATS) are in the process of introducing a new electronic flight strip system called EXCDS in their London Terminal Control Centre, which manages the airspace over London and the South East.
This system update is part of a £700m programme to cope with growing demand for air travel. According to NATS, it is essential that they modernise the tools and technologies they use to manage airspace in order to increase capacity and ensure safety as traffic increases.
During the introduction process between the 4th and 24th April, passengers at Gatwick and Heathrow airports will experience some delays as air traffic controllers’ switch to the digital system. The number of flights allowed to land at the airports will be reduced as staff gain confidence in using the new system in a live environment.
NATS have advised:
“Travellers could be delayed by around 20 minutes on flights bound for Heathrow and Gatwick.”
“There may also be minor delays into Stansted, Luton and London City. It will mainly affect arrivals at the two airports, although some take-offs may also be delayed.”
Further information regarding the NATS EXCDS programme can be found here.