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A project to share more accurate UK flight departure data with Eurocontrol, the air traffic management body, could “significantly” improve efficiency and reduce delays.
Air traffic control company NATS is partnering with the Civil Aviation Authority and various airlines and airports to deliver the Departure Planning Information (DPI) project, allowing UK airports to share real-time data with the broader European network from 2015.
Traditionally departure time predictions can be inaccurate “to the tune of several minutes”, due to the busy air traffic operations and changing weather conditions.
NATS said being able to share the exact time an aircraft is planned to depart will reduce the impact of delays, allow for more efficient aircraft routing and provide greater certainty for ground handling crews at destination airports.
“With DPI, our controllers will have a more accurate prediction of take-off times, and we will pass on that scheduling information to Eurocontrol with more certainty,” said NATS general manager for customer affairs, Andy Shand.
“That in turn will allow our airport and airline customers to better plan their operations, while NATS will be able to offer more fuel efficient routes.”
Technology Strategy Board’s newly created innovation centre, Transport Systems Catapult (TSC), acted as a project facilitator. Its programme manager, Philip Ellis, said: “In the short time that we have been working together with NATS an incredible amount has already been achieved.
“The DPI project is putting UK airports and airspace optimisation right in the vanguard when it comes to departure information handling, so it’s a great start as we look to increase intelligent mobility for UK transport as a whole.”