Peterborough communications giant overhauls ground-to-air radio links at Heathrow Airport

The new communications system in operation at Heathrow Airport.
The new communications system in operation at Heathrow Airport.
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Engineers at a leading ground-to-air communications specialists in Peterborough have completed an overhaul of Heathrow Airport’s radio links with airline pilots.

Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems, in Northfields, Market Deeping, has installed its Sapphire T6 air traffic management at the airport, which deals more than 75 million passengers a year.

The system provides a new communication link between pilots and air traffic control staff at the airport and will allow the management of all Sapphire assets from remote desktops or tablets.

The system will be operated by National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which is the country’s largest privatised air traffic control company.

NATS engineers and controllers were trained on the new system at the Park Air Academy, which is a new purpose built training centre at the Market Deeping site.

Heathrow is the first of a number of airports nationally that will be equipped with the new communications system.

Danny Milligan, managing director of Park Air Systems, said: “We have enjoyed a strong and productive relationship with NATS for many years and are very happy they chose us to support them with such a major programme.

“We look forward to seeing the Park Air Sapphire system in use at this airport.”

Iain Harris, NATS director of service operations, said: “This is a very important programme for NATS, and we are delighted London’s Heathrow Airport is to be the first Park Air Sapphire replacement programme in the UK.”

Park Air radios can be found in airports in 200 countries around the world.