Controllers claim CAA response is flawed


Controllers claim CAA response is flawed

Prospect, the union representing air traffic controllers and engineers, has reacted angrily to the Civil Aviation Authority's decision to turn down National Air Traffic Services’ request to raise its charges to airlines.

Iain Findlay, the union’s aviation officer, said he was appalled that the CAA’s economic regulator did not seem to understand the economics of air traffic control.

"The regulator has failed to realise that sticking rigidly to existing price controls will cause major financial difficulty for the newly privatised NATS.

"NATS was already in a precarious financial situation following the downturn in transatlantic traffic in the wake of the foot and mouth crisis and the events of 11 September. But by not being allowed to increase the charges in line with inflation, it will be pushed to the brink.

"This will mean that long-term investment, urgently needed by our creaking air traffic control system, will not be made. This raises questions about safety in the long-term."

Prospect will urgently lobby the Government to review the CAA’s preliminary response which, it says, will throw its plans for a successful public private partnership out of the window.