Staff at the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) control centre in Swanwick are the stars of a new BBC Two series which “seeks to shine a light on the unseen side of UK aviation”.

Skies Above Britain follows controllers managing the traffic in and out of London’s five busiest international airports, as well as in the control tower at Heathrow.

The five-episode series will look at how controllers deal with the impact of severe weather and aircraft emergencies, through to “the sheer scale and complexity of the everyday operation”.

The series will also take a look at the UK’s congested skies, and “the sheer variety of airspace users”.

Commenting on the new series NATS Operations Director Juliet Kennedy said:

“People often only think of air traffic control in terms of the tower at the airport, so we wanted to be part of this series to help demonstrate how that’s really only a part of the picture.

“In reality there are hundreds of people at our two control centres in Swanwick and Prestwick in Scotland whose job it is to keep your flight safe and they do that 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

“Much of the controlled airspace that we use in the UK has its origins back in the 1950s and is in major need to modernisation if we’re going to cope with the kind of rising demand that’s forecast over the next ten years.”

Skies Above Britain starts on BBC Two on Wednesday August 17 at 2100.,