Durban air traffic controllers prepare for World Cup upsurge

British air traffic controllers have been working with partners in South Africa to reshape procedures at one of the country's main airports in preparation for the thousands of extra flights that will take place because of the World Cup football tournament.

To ensure that the dramatic increase in business and charter jet flights can be managed safely and efficiently, Air Traffic Navigation Services South Africa (ATNS) called on consultants from NATS Services to support its preparation by reviewing and updating procedures at the new King Shaka International airport in Durban.

ATNS aeronautical information services manager Francois Coetzee explained that it was necessary to involve external partners in order to deliver on time and meet all the necessary requirements.

NATS Services project manager Alec McLaren said: "Training the staff who will be running the show when the tournament starts was a key element. That team – and the systems – are now in place to manage the rise in traffic this year and beyond. What we have built together is new procedures fundamentally to improve capacity."

He added that the brief was to ensure compliance with international air traffic standards and to design new instrument procedures, which incorporate the latest satellite navigation technologies for the World Cup and beyond, when air traffic volumes are forecast to rise.

The tournament starts on June 11 and ends on July 11: with both beginning and end dates expected to see the biggest peaks in air traffic movements.

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