Air Traffic Control Services

Date 21.12.2009
Monday 21 Dec 2009

He is Richard Deakin, aged 45, Senior Vice President, Air Systems Division, Thales Group, who will succeed Paul Barron, who has completed a highly successful six years as CEO.

Announcing the appointment, which takes effect on 1 April 2010, John Devaney, NATS Chairman said "I am very pleased to announce Richard's appointment to the NATS Board as its new Chief Executive Officer.

"Richard has a strong commercial background within the aviation sector. His experience of working at the heart of Europe will be most beneficial to NATS' involvement in the Single European Sky and SESAR negotiations. The Board is confident that Richard has the skills and attributes to ensure NATS achieves its strategic objectives and continues to deliver exceptional performance."

He added: "Paul Barron has, over the past six years with NATS, truly transformed the organisation from a public to private entity. Paul's strong communications skills have engaged unions and employees alike and, under his leadership, NATS has emerged stronger operationally and financially. The Board of NATS wishes him well."

Richard Deakin said: "I am delighted to be joining NATS at this crucial time. NATS has a key role to play in influencing the future shape of air traffic management in Europe whilst continuing to raise the bar on safety and service, driving efficiency and reducing its environmental impact.

Paul Barron said: "It has been a privilege for me to lead NATS over the past six years. I'm leaving a company in great shape. During this time the NATS team has delivered consistent outstanding results, consolidated its operations from four centres to two, reformed the pension arrangements and significantly reduced the company’s gearing. I wish Richard and everyone at NATS every future success."


NATS handled more than 2.4 million flights in 2008, covering the UK and eastern North Atlantic and carried more than 230 million passengers safely through some of the busiest and most complex airspace in the world.

NATS provides ‘en route’ air traffic control and management from the London Control Centre at Swanwick, Hampshire, Scottish and Oceanic Area Control Centre at Prestwick, Ayrshire and the Manchester Area Control Centre located at Manchester Airport.

NATS also provides air traffic control services at 15 of the nation's major airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow, together with air traffic services at Gibraltar Airport.

Richard Deakin – Biography:

Richard has over 25 years experience of major programmes in the aerospace and defence industry sector with BAE Systems, TRW Aeronautical Systems, GKN and Thales Group.

He joined British Aerospace in 1982 as an engineering apprentice and spent 17 years with the company in a variety of roles covering electronic warfare, manufacturing operations where he was Head of Airbus Wing Manufacturing for the single aisle product range, business development in the Asia Pacific region, and customer support. Amongst the positions he held, were as assistant to the then CEO, Sir Richard Evans and subsequently he moved to a position as VP Commercial Aerospace based at Farnborough.

Richard then moved to TRW Aeronautical Systems as European Operations Director where he ran 9 factories in the UK, France and Germany producing high precision aerospace systems such as power generation, engine digital control systems and fly-by-wire control systems.

Prior to joining Thales in January 2004 he spent several years as Group Director – Programmes with GKN Aerospace Services, where his responsibilities included the Airbus A380, Boeing 787 and F/A-22 programmes.

Richard’s initial position in Thales was as Managing Director of the Airborne Systems Business Group in the UK. Following a reorganisation of the company in June 2004, he assumed responsibility for the newly formed Aerospace Division, which comprised military and civil aerospace operations in the UK (Crawley, UK, Leicester, Raynes Park and Edinburgh) including ISTAR and UAV operations, along with Naval and Land EW and ground based surveillance radar systems

In April 2008 he was promoted to Thales’ Executive Committee and moved to Paris as Senior Vice President of the Air Systems Division responsible for Air Traffic Management, Ground Radars and Air Defence Systems; a division with €1.8bn turnover and 7,000 staff in France, UK, USA, Australia, Korea, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Brazil, UAE, China, Singapore, South Africa. He was also the Chairman of Thales Raytheon Systems, an American / French US$1000M JV specialising in C2 and Air Surveillance based in California and Paris.

A Chartered Engineer, Richard holds a first class honours degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Kingston University and an MBA from Cranfield School of Management. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Kingston University in January 2006.

He is married to Marian, and has two children aged 7 & 9.


EW – Electronic Warfare

ISTAR – Identification Surveillance Targeting and Reconnaissance

UAV – Unmanned Air Vehicles