NATS OpenAir for all airspace users... but who will pay?

NATS OpenAir

Aviation is “on the cusp of profound change, with eVTOL aircraft and mass drone operations set to transform our skies in a way we haven’t seen for a hundred years”, according to NATS Safety & Sustainability Director, Dave Curtis.

“Underpinning that new world we need solid foundations, and we’re developing NATS OpenAir to unlock the future of aviation in the UK, revolutionise the way we use airspace and accommodate a new generation of flight,” he continued.

“The emerging industry of new aircraft types like eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles) and uncrewed drones operate today in segregated airspace on a limited basis. Only specific and restricted-use cases are possible, such as blood sample delivery trials and infrastructure surveillance.

“With the right infrastructure in place, they can do so much more.”

All types of aviation can coexist under OpenAir according to NAT

All types of aviation can coexist under OpenAir according to NATS

In a presentation to the Drone X show which opened in London today, and in a blog post on the NATS website, Mr Curtis said NATS envisions a future where different types of aircraft can coexist seamlessly in a single unified airspace.

“NATS OpenAir is our proposal for achieving that safely, sustainably and securely,” he said.

“Full integration of new airspace users, which is key to unlocking the benefits they bring, means all airspace users will have to be able to understand what’s happening in the skies around them, no matter what type of aircraft they’re flying or whether there’s a pilot on board. This is a core principle of NATS OpenAir.

“A new network management function would manage access to specific blocks of airspace, interface with emergency aircraft and provide safety data.

“Importantly, we are not suggesting NATS OpenAir would provide air traffic services directly to new airspace users. Rather it would become the foundation on which others – be it service providers or drone operators – can build new and thriving businesses.”

NATS Drone Micro-site

Drone X Trade Show & Conference


Leave a Reply


We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Please let us know if you agree to all of these cookies.