Gatwick Airport, the second largest airport in the UK, plans to award German state-owned air navigation service provider DFS a 10-year contract to provide air traffic and approach services around the airport, located 28 miles south of London. The new airport tower services contract begins in October 2015
London Heathrow Airport
It might seem only a year or two since Airbus launched the A380 and just months since the mighty, double-deck behemoth entered service, but the European manufacturer has delivered more than 130 since operations began, almost six years ago, in October 2007. The aircraft, which typically accommodate about 500 passengers (depending upon customers’ cabin configurations), have an average daily use of more than 13 hours, says Airbus. Of the 324 examples that had been ordered by late June, the backlog of 192 includes 20 booked this year.
Signature Flight Support acquired the FBO assets of the Jets facility at London Biggin Hill Airport last week. Jets will continue to operate its core business of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, while Signature will own and operate the FBO assets.
UK ATC provider NATS said last week that the first practical trial of the TopFlight air traffic management system (ATM) successfully delivered the expected level of flight efficiencies. TopFlight is a key element in Europe’s Sesar next-generation ATM system, similar to the U.S. NextGen program. A NATS official reported at the Air Traffic Management.net website that gate-to-gate travel times measured for 100 British Airways flights across the North Atlantic using the new system saved up to half a ton of fuel per flight.
British ATC provider NATS announced last week that a new system that uses time intervals rather than distance to separate arriving and departing aircraft should be in full operation at London Heathrow Airport next spring. The dynamic time-based separations (TBS) system is expected to reduce aircraft delays while increasing an airport’s landing acceptance rate by accounting for wind-speed changes that current distance-based separation ignores.
The UK Government’s Airports Commission reported last Tuesday that the best way to add new capacity in the southeastern part of the country, around London, would involve adding a runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick, although it kept open the possibility of an all-new airport in the Thames Estuary. “All scenarios lead to the need for at least one net new runway,” commission chairman Sir Howard Davies declared.
UK air navigation services provider NATS has started a 14-week “consultation” process through January 21 to gather comments from airlines and other interested groups on proposed airspace changes surrounding Gatwick and London City airports. The consultation marks the first step in a wider program of proposed changes under the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s Future Airspace Strategy, an ATC modernization plan for the UK and Ireland.
The world’s three leading airline alliances have signaled their unwillingness to relocate from London Heathrow Airport in the event that a government-appointed commission proposes the development of a second hub airport for the UK capital.
The European Commission approved the proposed merger of US Airways Group and American Airlines parent company AMR Corporation on Tuesday, eliminating one hurdle to the companies’ plan to create the world’s largest airline.
London Gatwick Airport has proposed construction of a second parallel runway. If construction of the new runway is given a green light, it is expected to create additional air traffic flexibility and system safety for both business and commercial aircraft operations. The Gatwick plan offers three potential runway configurations, the most flexible allowing simultaneous instrument approaches and departures on both runways. Politically, prospects for building the runway are tied up in the wider debate about possible future expansion of London Heathrow Airport.
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