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Extends partnership beyond iFACTS to cover key load prediction software

Bath, UK and Sophia Antipolis, France, September 21, 2010: Altran Praxis, the international specialist in embedded and critical systems engineering, today announced that it has been selected by NATS to support and maintain its Traffic Load Prediction Device (TLPD). NATS is the UK’s leading air traffic management services provider and in 2009 handled 2.2 million flights, moving more than 200 million passengers. The TLPD is an Air Traffic Control (ATC) system that provides a forecast of air traffic load up to four hours ahead, enabling ATC centre managers to plan workloads to help maintain optimum traffic flows.

Altran Praxis is already working closely with NATS in the development of the advanced iFACTS system. iFACTS provides tools for trajectory prediction, conflict detection and monitoring aids, and will replace traditional paper information strips with electronic data and new displays. Altran Praxis was selected to support the TLPD due to the strength of its existing partnership and the software engineering capabilities it has demonstrated on iFACTS.

Originally introduced in 1993, the TLPD uses flight plan, tactical and radar messages to make predictions on the timing of flights entering and occupying Air Traffic Control (ATC) sectors. The system provides predictions of the loading on sectors, aerodromes, airways and other elements, at varying degrees of detail, up to four hours into the future. TLPD is expected to understand messages concerning flights in UK airspace, Irish airspace, the oceanic transition areas, and a portion of the Northern European airspaces.

These predictions enable NATS’ UK Flow Managers and Local Area Supervisors to detect the possibility of controllers becoming overloaded, in sufficient time to re-allocate resources to prevent flight delays.

“The TLPD is a core tool for NATS when it comes to predicting future air traffic loads,” said Allan Robb, Senior Programme Manager, NATS. “Having already worked with Altran Praxis on the iFACTS project, we have developed a strong relationship and know they have the software engineering skills to fully support TLPD.”

The first Altran Praxis build of the TLPD went live in June 2010 after the support contract began on 1 April 2010. Altran Praxis will support the TLPD for the rest of its operational life, expected to be for at least five years.

“NATS performs a vital national role ensuring the smooth running of the UK’s air traffic management on a daily basis, supporting millions of people to make journeys to all parts of the world. TLPD is key to NATS’ operation and we really understand its importance. We are delighted to have been given this responsibility and look forward to helping NATS develop this system to maintain and further optimise their traffic operations,” said Keith Williams, Altran Praxis Managing Director.

Deployed within the operations rooms of NATS’ centres in Swanwick and Prestwick, the TLPD is simultaneously available to 40 users. A client-server system, the TLPD is a key part of the Tactical Operational Management Systems (TOMS). This is a suite of applications that collect, analyse and filter ATC messages.


About Altran Praxis

Altran Praxis is a specialist systems and software house, focused on the engineering of systems with demanding safety, security or innovation requirements. Altran Praxis leads the world in specific areas of advanced systems engineering and innovation such as: ultra low defect software engineering, Human Machine Interface (HMI), safety engineering for complex or novel systems and tools (such as SPARK) /methods for systems engineering. It offers clients a range of services including turnkey systems development, consultancy, training and R&D. Key market sectors are aerospace and defence, rail, nuclear, air traffic management, automotive, medical and security. The company operates globally with active projects in the US, Asia and Europe. The headquarters of Altran Praxis are in Bath (UK) with offices in Sophia Antipolis, London, Paris, Loughborough and Bangalore. Altran Praxis is an expertise centre within, and wholly owned by, Altran which is a global leader in innovation engineering and employs 17,000 staff across the world.

About NATS

• NATS handled 2.2 million flights in 2009, covering the UK and eastern North Atlantic and carried more than 200 million passengers safely through some of the busiest and most complex airspace in the world.

• NATS provides air traffic control from its centres at Swanwick, Hampshire and Prestwick, Ayrshire.

• NATS also provides air traffic control services at 15 of the nation's major airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow, together with air traffic services at Gibraltar Airport.

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