Olympics Air Security Chief thanks private pilots

The Air Component Commander for Operation OLYMPICS, Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha, has acknowledged the cooperation and efforts of the GA Community to comply with the Olympic airspace restrictions, including the need to file flight plans following the introduction of the temporary Airspace Control Measures on 14 July.

MOD has worked closely with the CAA and aviation communities to enable, wherever possible, business as usual within the constraints of the Olympic airspace restrictions necessary to ensure a safe and secure Olympic Games.

ATLAS control and the GA community have in the vast majority of cases worked well together to adapt to the revised methods of operating in and around London. ATLAS will continue to adjust its operations to meet the peaks in demand, and experience from the first weekend of the restrictions has allowed for processes to be streamlined.

Air Vice-Marshal Atha said ‘‘I would like to thank the General Aviation community for their forbearance and cooperation during the early stages of increased security for the Olympics. At the heart of the airspace control measures that were introduced was the need to create a known air environment in order that potential threats could be indentified. Inevitably, the measures adopted are a balance between my requirements and those delivering scheduled services and the General Aviation community. I would have liked to exercise the airspace control measures in advance of 14 July but I accepted that this would have caused undesirable disruption to the other airspace users. Consequently, the onus was then on a plan that could be adapted quickly to the lessons identified in the early days.

“And so it was. For example, our capacity to process flight plans and to deal with a large number of simultaneous contact radio calls needed to be bolstered. Throughout this I am extremely grateful to the aviation community for their patience and support and how they worked with us to develop our procedures. I would also like to recognise the highly valued support of our colleagues from the CAA and NATS, and indeed from my own team within ATLAS control, many of whom were drafted in from across the wider Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. By working together we have developed a system that is a crucial part of the contribution made by airmen, civilian and military, to a safe, secure and successful Olympic Games.”

RAF, UK Mod press release