Prospect warns NATS is one sell-off too far

Prospect warns NATS is one sell-off too far

In response to the budget Prospect has reiterated its concerns about a potential full-scale sell-off by the Government of its stake within NATS, the UK air traffic service provider.

On behalf of over 3,000 air traffic controllers, engineers and specialists, Garry Graham, Prospect National Secretary for aviation, said:

“We warned before the budget of an announcement to sell-off. Instead of an announcement on the floor of the Commons, we find the Government’s intention buried within the budget report.”

“We are deeply concerned that there has been no meaningful public or stakeholder consultation on these proposals which were trailed as part of the emergency budget in June of last year.

“While we have been seeking to engage positively with the Secretary of State and the Department for Transport on this issue – not one argument has been presented to us as to how or why a sell-off would be in the interests of our members, air traffic management service delivery or the travelling public. We are also aware that the notion of a Government sell-off is causing increasing alarm across wider aviation stakeholders and airlines.”

Graham said the union had long argued that:

  • NATS receives no public subsidy and is a net contributor to the Exchequer.
  • Safety and service delivery have to be paramount not least because the UK has some of the most congested and complex airspace in the world.
  • NATS is seen as a world leader in terms of safety.
“We are deeply concerned that a Government sell-off would reduce our voice in Europe on air traffic management matters, and lead to greater instability with a drive for profits and dividends which will undermine the very significant strides that have been achieved in relation to safety, service delivery and increases in capacity.”