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ANS v NATS

Old 16th Jul 2019, 21:48
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ANS v NATS

I notice Air Navigation Solutions are advertising for trainee ATCOs at the moment. The timing isn't right for me to apply this time around but hopefully will be next year, which got me thinking - would people recommend ANS compared to NATS?

- With NATS you could end up anywhere (eg, area or aerodrome in London, Aberdeen or anwhere in between) whereas ANS is only LGW / EDI and all aerodrome/approach (I think?). Obviously if you desperately want to avoid London/Edinburgh then NATS might be the better option but if not, ANS offers a little more certainty.

- NATS have a long track record of training newbies and developing their careers, how do ANS compare in this regard?

- Job security is probably higher at NATS but then again a validated ATCO is unlikely to struggle to find work if the worst happened

Any thoughts? Clearly neither are bad options
ManUtd1999 is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2019, 06:34
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NATS offers a much better chance of avoiding London as 90% of the trainees will end up doing Area control instead. In terms of training I have no idea what ANS are like, but being tower only will give you more flexibility to move elsewhere in the country. With my Area rating I'm stuck at Swanwick or Prestwick or the few countries abroad that allow non nationals, and have English as their main language, to work in air traffic.

ANS don't do the approach for Gatwick, that's done by NATS at Swanwick and I'm not sure about Edinburgh.
The Many Tentacles is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2019, 10:52
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ANS provide approach radar and tower at Edinburgh and tower only at Gatwick.
Nats provide area control everywhere in the UK and tower and approach at 14 (I think) airports plus the approach radar function for 5 London airports.

One thing to consider is that Nats recruitment is practically always open all year round, whilst ANS only open a window for applications when needed.

You probably won't get to pick and choose when to apply for ANS, so if you fancy working at Gatwick and possibly Edinburgh, you should apply while the opportunity is there. With Nats (at the moment anyway) the option is always there.

Another fairly big thing to consider is that initial training with Nats is in Fareham, with ANS is in Germany...
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Old 18th Jul 2019, 16:51
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ANS remains an unknown entity to most and is building a poor reputation - last week's EFPS failure, one example.
Their ATCO training scheme and its success is unknown. Job security, unknown. ANS do approach radar at Edinburgh only, potential for dual ratings.
Word on the street is staff at Gatwick are not happy bunnies, short staff crisis and shipping support in from German towers to make ends meet.

Worth noting, since some initial 'success' in securing the ATC Tower contracts at Gatwick & Edinburgh (co-incidentally owned/operated by the same company at the time), ANS have failed to gain any further major business in the UK...
T250 is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 17:32
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Worth remembering that should you train at Gatwick and fail to validate, ANS have only Edinburgh to possibly post you too. There are only so many ATCOís needed there however. At least one such failure was offered a Lighting Operator position at Gatwick, but long term this role will be automated.
NATS, having more airfields potentially, may be able to potentially offer those failing to validate at busy airfields more sedat3 locations.
There are other ANSPís however to apply to if you fail. Few of these would be of interest perhaps to either ANS or the greater NATS I think.
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Old 18th Jul 2019, 19:51
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NATS training currently isn't refined to the sunny south coast of the UK either, there have been courses recently sent to Jerez in Spain to do initial training.

NATS can send you anywhere however you also have the ability to move within the company and if you seek a more managerial position then there are very good & numerous prospects available.
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Old 19th Jul 2019, 13:15
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Originally Posted by T250 View Post
ANS remains an unknown entity to most and is building a poor reputation - last week's EFPS failure, one example.
Other examples?

Because Nats (or other ANSPs for that matter) never had an equipment failure resulting in major disruption?
Or airport closures due to ATC staffing?
Or en route restrictions due to ATC staffing? This summer's CTOTs are horrendous on a fairly regular basis.


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Old 19th Jul 2019, 19:29
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Originally Posted by BigDaddyBoxMeal View Post
Other examples?

Because Nats (or other ANSPs for that matter) never had an equipment failure resulting in major disruption?
Or airport closures due to ATC staffing?
Or en route restrictions due to ATC staffing? This summer's CTOTs are horrendous on a fairly regular basis.
The irony being that the equipment that failed at Gatwick was probably NATS developed/installed originally??
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Old 19th Jul 2019, 21:08
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I find it quite baffling looking at the ANS accounts who got paid for what they did and then researching ANS further online who benefits from all of it too!!!! The 2018 accounts are of most interest.....
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Old 21st Jul 2019, 12:34
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Some interesting replies so far, keep them coming

NATS offers a much better chance of avoiding London as 90% of the trainees will end up doing Area control instead
I didn't realise it was as high as 90% - are you counting the London approach controllers which are also based on Swanwick in that figure?

NATS can send you anywhere however you also have the ability to move within the company and if you seek a more managerial position then there are very good & numerous prospects available.
People seem to have different opinions on this. Some say it's possible to move after a few years in your initial posting as a tower controller but others say it's very unlikely. Alos, could you give any examples of these "managerial positions"? I guess they are mostly based at HQ and would require a fair amount of experience?
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Old 21st Jul 2019, 12:42
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If you do get an interview with ANS you may want to enquire as to the success rate for trainees at Gatwick following the post NATS period.
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Old 22nd Jul 2019, 17:48
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  • NATS can send you anywhere in the UK and you can move subject to unit requirements at the time of application for new role. I have known ATCOs to hand in their transfer request as soon as they have arrived at a unit after posting (not the best way to win friends and influence people).
  • Success rate at LGW has never been great.
  • Recent EFPS issues - have ANS been updating the software in line with manufacturers requirements?????
Landingtime25 is offline  
Old 22nd Jul 2019, 19:53
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My experience to date (after joining ANS in January 18) has been very positive. The success rate of the Ab-Initio programme rivals NATS and the certainty of knowing where I was going to be posted was far better for me. As people have mentioned above, Edinburgh is TWR/APP whereas Gatwick is TWR only.

I disagree with the comment above that ANS have a poor track record, the EFPS failure the other day was unprecedented, but failures occur in technology all the time - I donít feel like ANS has had more than a ďnormalĒ amount.

If anybody has any questions about the ANS process Iíd be more than happy to help where possible 🙂
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Old 22nd Jul 2019, 23:35
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Originally Posted by middles View Post
If you do get an interview with ANS you may want to enquire as to the success rate for trainees at Gatwick following the post NATS period.
Indeed, particularly the significant number of trainees fed in since 2016 and how many are valid, failed or resigned.
T250 is offline  
Old 23rd Jul 2019, 19:14
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Originally Posted by DanJaws View Post
My experience to date (after joining ANS in January 18) has been very positive. The success rate of the Ab-Initio programme rivals NATS and the certainty of knowing where I was going to be posted was far better for me. As people have mentioned above, Edinburgh is TWR/APP whereas Gatwick is TWR only.

I disagree with the comment above that ANS have a poor track record, the EFPS failure the other day was unprecedented, but failures occur in technology all the time - I donít feel like ANS has had more than a ďnormalĒ amount.

If anybody has any questions about the ANS process Iíd be more than happy to help where possible 🙂
Nice to see a little balance on this thread. Nothing wrong with ANS, good outfit run by good people. Plenty of room in the UK for two large ANSPís, it can only be good for the market. Give it time and thereíll be a bigger division of airport contracts, between them and NATS.
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Old 24th Jul 2019, 11:43
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If you fail to validate at Gatwick will ANS offer you a place at Edinburgh and give you an APS rating later on?

Rgds
AyrTC
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Old 24th Jul 2019, 14:04
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Originally Posted by AyrTC View Post
If you fail to validate at Gatwick will ANS offer you a place at Edinburgh and give you an APS rating later on?

Rgds
AyrTC
It has been made clear that it isnít necessarily the end of the line if you fail, all alternatives will be explored - safe to say that Edinburgh would be one of the options they would look at. It largely depends on where in the OJT you fail and for what reasons I would guess.

Gatwick is a bloody hard place to validate, so Iím sure they have many contingencies in mind!

Last edited by DanJaws; 1st Aug 2019 at 08:09.
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Old 24th Jul 2019, 20:49
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Originally Posted by DanJaws View Post


Gatwick is a bloody hard place to validate, so Iím sure they have many contingencies in mind!
Several people from Farnborough were posted there when it was still NATS and they came back with the definite impression that certain persons made it their business to make sure they didn't validate; hopefullly those persons are now gone.
Not to say some controllers at Gatwick (especially in the tower) in the NATS era weren't ace; I was inbound on a fam flight one day and when we were at 4 miles (the previous lander just vacating), they still managed to get 2 departures away before we were cleared to land.
Hopefully this skill has been carried over to ANS controllers.
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Old 24th Jul 2019, 21:02
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Several people from Farnborough were posted there when it was still NATS and they came back with the definite impression that certain persons made it their business to make sure they didn't validate; hopefullly those persons are now gone.
Not to say some controllers at Gatwick (especially in the tower) in the NATS era weren't ace; I was inbound on a fam flight one day and when we were at 4 miles (the previous lander just vacating), they still managed to get 2 departures away before we were cleared to land.
Hopefully this skill has been carried over to ANS controllers.
Not sure about the NATS era, but instructors have made it clear that provided youíre showing the effort and commitment required, theyíll go to great lengths to ensure a successful outcome. Iíve never had a problem with anybody helping me, or guiding me during my training.
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Old 25th Jul 2019, 02:05
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I think youíll find that most of the instructors that are at Gatwick now are the same ones who were there when NATS were the ANSP. So they probably have gone!! And like most things in life, there is good and not so good; good instructors and not so good instructors. Also, there are probably some instructors there who really shouldnít be instructing! Itís also safe to say though, Iím sure your friends from Farnborough Ďimpressioní was Iím sure just that. I am certain there is nobody there who Ďmade it their business to make sure they didnít validateí.

Maybe they just werenít good enough?? Thatís normally the case ��
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