(via) Around 6,000 flights operate in UK airspace on any given day, with peak dates seeing as many as 8,000. The beautiful dance that we see in the video above will generate over £20 billion this year and employ 220,000 people.
Our airspace is busy, complex and there is a lot going on. Each year we manage around 2.2 million movements, peaking at over 8,000 a day (although there are around 7,000 on this particular day), with only 5.5 seconds delay per flight attributable to NATS. Obviously there are the flows of large aircraft from the airports into and out of the UK, but there is also a lot of activity outside controlled airspace. UK 24 is designed to help visualise the breadth and depth of UK aviation and why airspace is such an important asset.
The day starts with the bow wave of transatlantic traffic heading towards the UK on their organised and separated tracks. This is quickly joined by traffic from Europe and the first waves of departures from UK airports. Over a short period of time the traffic levels grow to show the main trunk roads of airspace as well as the hubs around London, Manchester and central Scotland.
We then move to give a unique view of the holding stacks over London and how they are a fundamental part of the Heathrow operation, providing the constant flow of traffic that makes it the world’s busiest dual runway airport with 1,350 movements a day.
Our tour then take us around the UK, including the other major airports, our two control centres in Swanwick and Prestwick, some general aviation traffic and examples of military training off the east coast of England and near to North Wales. We then dwell on the spider’s web of helicopter tracks that originate from Aberdeen, taking people and vital supplies to and from the North Sea oil and gas rigs.