CGI has been selected by UK air traffic controller NATS for its digital infrastructure upgrade.

The IT and business consultancy will be helping NATS (formerly National Air Traffic Services) to transition to a hybrid cloud model, as well as providing data center and hosting services in a seven-year contract.

Air traffic controller
– Getty Images

In addition, CGI will provide consulting services and frameworks that will help NATS with its IT portfolio, improving safety and efficiency.

NATS hands air traffic services at 14 airports across the UK as well as all UK airspace, all of which are handled from two control centers: Hampshire and Ayrshire, the UK.

Neil Timms, SVP of CGI's UK and Australian Space, Defence and Intelligence business said: "We will work alongside NATS to deliver flexible, scalable, and safe IT systems that will be vital to the ongoing control and transformation of this complex and critical national infrastructure. We are proud to help position NATS for the future while enabling them to deliver greater customer value today."

According to a 2014 CGI document, the company has "long" been associated with air traffic control across Europe, and has expertise in central control and monitoring systems, GPS navigation systems, control facilities, and satellite control systems. The document lists NATS as among CGI's customers, having implemented its "central control and monitoring system," and "providing expert advice and risk assessment to the UK CAA on the capital investment plans of NATS."

The two companies have been working together for the past year, as part of the ongoing digital transformation program at NATS.

Tim Bullock, supply chain & facilities management director at NATS, said: "NATS is currently implementing a transformational technology program to deliver the next generation solutions that will continue to keep the skies safe into the future and support our customers worldwide and we will be relying on CGI's expertise and proven capability to build and support the digital infrastructure. CGI will be joining an ecosystem of partners and I look forward to many years of collaborative success."

In 2019, NATS received two data centers as part of its DP En Route & Voice program which was a response to the need for new technology. In addition to the data centers which were designed to host NATS' systems and services, the company received a "highly resilient, high speed, dual fiber optic network" that connected the data centers to its operational centers and voice & surveillance infrastructure.

DCD has contacted NATS and CGI for more information.