Air traffic control: Managing the highways of the skies

UK airspace is one of the busiest in the world, with over 6,000 flights travelling through it every day.

The majority of this activity occurs above the south-east of England, which is home to five major airports, but it’s not just commercial traffic that’s filling the skies. Military aircraft and helicopters also weave their way through the airspace, completing training missions and taking people and vital supplies to and from the North Sea oil and gas rigs.

When you think of air traffic control, you probably think of the big control towers at airports, but the majority of the work is actually done by NATS Air Traffic Controllers working from control centres at Swanwick in Hampshire, England and Prestwick in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Watch the incredible video below to see a typical day’s worth of UK airspace activity they have to manage condensed down into just 2 minutes!

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