Press releases

NATS and McLaren Deloitte announce new collaboration

Relationship will bring F1 technology and data science into the aviation industry

26 November 2018

NATS, the UK air traffic service, and McLaren Deloitte have today announced a collaboration agreement aimed at transforming how operational decisions are made in the aviation industry.

The companies will work together on products that combine the relative expertise of leading organisations; bringing together state-of-the-art analytics and data science with the real-world experience of network and airport capacity management.

During every Formula 1 race, McLaren takes into account millions of possible scenarios to then model the outcome of a range of tactical decisions. Meanwhile, Deloitte is renowned for their experience in using data analytics to deliver large consulting projects globally. These capabilities, combined with NATS’ expertise in managing congested and complex airspace and airports, are now being deployed to help the aviation industry understand and accurately predict the impact of decisions before they are even made.
Performance Optimiser is the first product to emerge from the collaboration.

Developed together by NATS air traffic and airspace capacity management experts with McLaren Deloitte data scientists, Performance Optimiser allows ANSPs to review and model the effect of a huge range of tactical decisions in en-route and terminal airspace - such as the use of flow regulations - in order to maximise available airspace capacity and minimise delays.

The cloud-based system offers instant access to operational data, allowing the user to view a range of factors that may influence air traffic– from the level of flow regulations and weather conditions, through to the occurrence of sporting events – in order to make an informed decision that helps best manage the airspace. Performance Optimiser can then simulate how different decisions would have changed the outcome for any given day, allowing operational supervisors to not just review performance, but inform future decisions and quickly apply their learning to drive improvement.

NATS is already evaluating the tool to help balance traffic flows against capacity and identify opportunities to improve performance.

Martin Rolfe, NATS Chief Executive Officer, said: “On the surface, aviation and Formula 1 might seem like an unlikely collaboration, but we are increasingly looking at opportunities to work with people outside of the traditional aviation industry to find new ways to help our customers. NATS has a world-class capability in managing busy and complex traffic flows, and we’re already seeing the benefits of combining that expertise with what McLaren Deloitte do so well. I’m excited to see where else this will go next.”

Mark Cooper, partner for aviation technology at Deloitte, said: “As the UK airspace becomes more crowded it will be increasingly difficult to manage and McLaren Deloitte are delighted to be working in collaboration with NATS to provide a solution powered by the concept of a digital twin. By taking all of the experience and knowledge of air navigation professionals and enhancing it with advanced analytics and simulation, Performance Optimiser allows operational supervisors to make data-augmented decisions which improves both operational efficiency and consistency. This product will enable NATS as well as the global aviation community to make the best decisions in managing the airspace, and we look forward to working with them to achieve this.”

Mike Phillips, Director, Aviation, McLaren Applied Technologies, said: “Together McLaren and Deloitte are focusing on the growing needs of airport operations and are investing in a suite of solutions. This new collaboration with NATS enables us to deliver F1 derived simulation and analytics to air traffic management, enabling operational supervisors to make decisions based on data driven insights. The potential offered by sensors, simulation and data analytics to the airspace navigation sector is significant, but until now it has been difficult for the industry to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world. This relationship will provide NATS and its customers with data that allows them to improve operational efficiency and unlock the benefits that come with it.”

Other products already in advanced development include additional airline and airport optimisation products.


Note to editors
For more information contact the NATS Press Office on 01489 615945, email or tweet @NATS

About NATS
NATS is a leading air traffic management and solutions company, established in the UK in 1962 and now operating in countries around the world.

NATS handled 2.6 million flights in 2017, covering the UK and eastern North Atlantic from its centres at Swanwick, Hampshire and Prestwick, Ayrshire. NATS also provides air traffic services at 13 UK airports; at Gibraltar Airport and, in a joint venture with Ferrovial, at a number of airport towers in Spain.
Building on its reputation for operational excellence and innovation, NATS offers aerodrome, data, engineering, capacity, efficiency and environmental performance solutions to customers worldwide, including airports, airlines air traffic service providers and Governments.

For more information visit the NATS website at

About McLaren Deloitte
McLaren Applied Technologies formed a partnership with the business advisory firm Deloitte in 2017 to build data-driven business products. The partnership draws on McLaren’s simulation and analytics experience, developed and proven in the world of motorsport, coupled with Deloitte’s digital and analytics experience delivering large consulting projects globally.

The partnership will address complex, industry-wide challenges and improve performance across clients’ businesses, initially focussed on delivering benefits in the healthcare, life sciences, retail and transport sectors. McLaren Deloitte helps clients bridge the physical-to-digital divide, enabling organisations to capture and draw insight from vast amounts of data. Together, the companies create products that offer savings, growth and productivity for our customers by simulating thousands of alternative realities, identifying the best possible outcomes and giving decisionmakers the information they need to gain a competitive advantage.

About McLaren Applied Technologies
Part of the McLaren Group, McLaren Applied Technologies works at the intersection of technology, data and human ingenuity to deliver quantifiable performance advantage through a range of capabilities to industry sectors undergoing large-scale disruptive change, including automotive, transport, health and motorsport.

Drawing on a 30-year heritage leading the digital transformation of motorsport through electronics and data systems, we now develop transformative products and solutions that harness our expertise in electronic systems, electric drive, telemetry, software, sensor technology, simulation, predictive analytics, and design.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

For more information, please visit

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

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