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National Air Traffic Services

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 23 June 2011

8. What proportion of its stake in NATS Ltd the Government plan to sell; and if he will make a statement. (61513)

I recently launched a call for evidence on whether the Government need to retain a shareholding in NATS in order to meet our aviation policy objectives. The results will inform decisions on whether to sell all, part or none of the Government’s shareholding in the company. I expect to update the House once we have considered the responses to the call for evidence.

Do I take it from that reply that the Secretary of State is considering a complete sell-off of the Government’s interest in NATS? Will he also tell us what consultations he is having with the staff and the airline group about their views on the matter?

The call for evidence has gone to stakeholders in and around the company and the air traffic sector. We asked what the implications would be of selling all, part or none of our shareholding. We are open-minded and conscious of the fact that there could be strategic implications, and we want to understand from the people who work in the industry what those strategic implications might be before making any decision.