Air traffic union warns regulator over NATS' revenues


Air traffic union warns regulator over NATS' revenues

The union representing air traffic controllers and systems specialists in National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has warned the economic regulator of serious consequences if plans proceed to strip £100 million out of NATS’ revenue requirement over the next five years.

On behalf of 3,000 members in NATS, Prospect has submitted a formal response to the regulator’s proposals on the price controls that will be applied to NATS from 2006 through to 2011.

The union has warned that the proposed reduction in operating expenditure of 3% per year in real terms will mean £100 million being taken out of NATS’ current business plans, and risks damaging UK interests in the development of the Single European Sky project.

The union has also criticised the economic regulatory group of the Civil Aviation Authority for proposing to hold back 20% of NATS’ capital expenditure programme for its en-route business. And it fears that doubling the financial penalties NATS will face for air traffic delays during peak periods could compromise safety.

David Luxton, Prospect national secretary, said: "The proposed price controls to be imposed on NATS will undermine plans to modernise the air traffic control infrastructure and will result in crude cost-cutting measures that will seriously threaten good industrial relations in NATS.

"Air traffic controllers and engineers have delivered massive improvements to service delivery over the past two years which have reduced average delay times significantly. Stripping out £100 million from the business and holding back £106 million of capital expenditure requirement can only serve to weaken rather than strengthen NATS’ ability to establish itself as a world-class air navigation service provider capable of leading the way in the development of the Single European Sky."