It is the first time the airport has awarded a contract for air traffic control services to an external company, with NATS beating bids from Air Navigation Solutions and the Swedish air traffic control provider, LFV.
NATS, which manages air traffic services at 13 other UK airports, will now take responsibility for the safety and efficiency of the airport’s 42,000 annual arrivals and departures, having provided engineering services to the airport since 2007.
Mark Beattie, BCA Operations Director, said: “We were delighted with the level of interest from top tier Air Navigation Service Providers resulting in an open and highly competitive tender process. We are confident that NATS will provide an air traffic service that delivers high levels of customer service, stakeholder engagement and will ensure alignment with relevant best practice.”
The NATS offering included a number of service enhancements such as the introduction of electronic flight progress strips.
Mike Stoller, NATS Airports Director, added: “Our performance in UK air traffic management, our ability to deliver innovation, and really understanding what the Belfast City Airport needed were key reasons for our successful bid. We’ve built innovation in to our service proposal to enhance the quality and resilience of the operation I would like to welcome the tower team into the NATS family.”
All of the airport’s existing air traffic employees will join NATS, which formally took over the service on 1 July.