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Aviation: Air Traffic Control

Volume 716: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have regarding air traffic control. [HL1389]

On 8 December the Government published the Operational Efficiency Programme: Asset Portfolio.

The portfolio includes a section on NATS which notes that, in light of the impending expiry of the restrictions on the transfer of shares for NATS, it is appropriate for the Government to engage with other shareholders who are likely to consider the shareholding options available to them.

No decision has been made by the Government with regard to reducing their shareholding. Any options considered would be required to best meet the needs of the company and its workforce, as well as of shareholders.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the 20-year European Union plan to improve air traffic controls is still in place; and, if so, what stage it is at. [HL1390]

The single European sky initiative was first launched in 1999 and is still in place. The first package of measures under the initiative has led to the separation of service provision from regulation to improve the interoperability of air traffic control equipment, as well as common approaches to the certification of service providers and to the charging of users in this field.

A second package of measures was agreed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on 4 December 2009 to reinvigorate the initiative. This will see the introduction of a Europe-wide performance scheme to incentivise better air traffic management by 2012 and better co-ordinated management of the network. It also imposes a deadline of 2012 for the introduction of functional airspace blocs within which groups of EU member states will co-ordinate their air traffic management. The UK and Ireland have led the way in this area, concluding the first functional airspace bloc in July 2008.

SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) is the single European sky project to develop the technology needed to modernise air traffic management across Europe. It was launched on 12 July 2009 as a partnership between the European Commission, Eurocontrol (the intergovernmental organisation for air traffic control in Europe) and 15 industry partners, including NATS and a consortium that includes BAA amongst its membership.