BT Group secured a seven-year contract to provide air navigation provider NATS with upgraded network architecture and cybersecurity services, designed to boost the safety of flight operations in UK.

In a joint statement, BT noted it will take responsibility for modernising and consolidation of NATS’ critical data network, as well as manage digital and cybersecurity services and co-develop new security measures.

NATS is partly owned by the government and handles air traffic for more than 2.5 million flights every year across 14 domestic airports and all activities within the UK airspace. It also provides services at Gibraltar Airport and Hong Kong International Airport.

Tim Bullock, supply chain and facilities management director at NATS said the company partnered with BT to support the implementation of its “transformational technology programme”, aimed at enhancing security.

The tie-up will further see the establishment of a new coordination point for cyber resilience, and BT will manage cybersecurity services across NATS’ facilities.

BT’s director of Central Government Andy Rowe added that secure, high-bandwidth connectivity is essential to the country’s air traffic control system,  and the operator had spent years building “world-class networks and cyber security for providers of critical national infrastructure”.