Regional airports to benefit from delay-reducing technology

New technology to reduce passenger delays and improve airspace efficiency is being extended to additional regional UK airports thanks to an agreement signed on Monday between the Transport Systems Catapult and Lockheed Martin. 

Previously only installed at Heathrow and Gatwick by the airports themselves, Departure Planning Information (DPI) technology provides real-time information about the departure of aircraft to a European flight information network. This in turn enables national and European Air Traffic Control Centres to make much better decisions regarding the flow of traffic and arrival times of aircraft. 

With the support of Britain’s main air navigation service provider NATS, the Transport Systems Catapult has already supported the installation of DPI at seven major UK airports (London City, Stansted, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Luton). Monday’s contract signing will now enable the Transport Systems Catapult and Lockheed Martin to develop and deploy the technology at a number of regional airports which do not yet have air traffic control systems integrated with the European network manager. 

Lockheed Martin were selected by the Transport Systems Catapult following a competitive public procurement process.  

“Taken together with the installations carried out by Heathrow and Gatwick, DPI now covers over 70% of the UK’s commercial flights, with initial offline tests showing an improvement of around 60% in predicting the actual take-off times of aircraft,” Transport Systems Catapult CEO Steve Yianni said at Monday’s contract signing.  

“The UK is now leading the way in Europe when it comes to improved airspace efficiency, with DPI enabling air traffic management systems across the UK to maintain and improve their safe, efficient and reliable use of airspace.” 

Mark Cooper, Lockheed Martin UK Managing Director Transport said: “The DPI project is a crucial component of the Transport Systems Catapult initiative that will help UK regional airports contribute to and benefit from a more efficient air transport network. 

“With demand for air travel increasing, the Transport Systems Catapult and Lockheed Martin will work together to help improve passenger experience and increase efficient use of airspace”. 

Up to four regional airports are expected to be involved in the first phase of deployment. 

The DPI programme is supporting the UK’s Future Airspace Strategy which is designed to modernise air traffic management, with the participation of a wide cross-section of aviation sector stakeholders. 

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