New TV series takes you behind the scenes at Air Traffic Control

The air traffic controllers at NATS are among the profession to be featured on the newly announced BBC Two series, Skies Above Britain, which aims to shine a light on the unseen side of UK aviation.

Featuring access to the Swanwick air traffic control centre in Hampshire, the series will give viewers a unique insight into the vital role controllers play in safely guiding thousands of flights every-day.

Juliet Kennedy, NATS Operations Director, said, “People often only think of air traffic control in terms of the tower at the airport, so we wanted to be part of this series to help demonstrate how that’s really only a part of the picture.

“In reality there are hundreds of people at our two control centres in Swanwick and Prestwick in Scotland whose job it is to keep your flight safe and they do that 24 hours a day 365 days a year.”

As well as the skill and expertise of the UK’s air traffic controllers, the series also highlights the sheer variety of airspace users and just how congested the skies have become.

Juliet continued, “Much of the controlled airspace that we use in the UK has its origins back in the 1950s and is in major need to modernisation if we’re going to cope with the kind of rising demand that’s forecast over the next 10 years.”

Analysis by NATS suggests that without the necessary airspace modernisation delays could reach 50 times what they are today at a cost of £1bn to airlines.

“As an island national that depends on aviation, we can’t afford to let that happen.”

Interested in finding out more about getting into the career? A team from NATS will be at Pilot Careers Live at the Sofitel Hotel, London Heathrow on 5 November, ready to explain how you can take the first step to an ATC role. Tickets are available at

The first episode of Skies Above Britain will be broadcast on Wednesday 17th August at 21.00 on BBC Two. Watch a clip below.

Main picture © NATS Press Office