Swerving The ‘Highways In The Sky’ From London To New York Goes Smoothly, Says Air Traffic Control

03/22/2021

‘We did not receive a single query from our airline customers, not a single pilot question or phone call’ – Jacob Young, Nats

The UK’s air-traffic control authority has revealed that deleting the prescribed “highways in the sky” between Britain and the US went smoothly – as well as saving time and fuel and helping the planet.

For over half a century, all planes flying across the North Atlantic have travelled along clearly prescribed tracks.

This “Organised Track Structure” (OTS) enables air-traffic controllers working for the UK’s air-navigation provider Nats, and its counterpart Nav Canada, to channel aircraft along up to 12 tracks. Nats says they help to provide “a predictable operating environment”.

But a recent study found that all the OTS options are sub-optimal. Some aircraft spent almost 20 per cent longer in the air than they needed, representing an extra hour in flight.

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