Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Eighteenth Report


55. The Transport Act 2000 includes a contingency that, in extremis, air traffic control could be placed in administration.[139] Nevertheless, the recent experience with Railtrack demonstrates that the existence of a legal mechanism to place such a vital company into administration is not sufficient. We expect the Department to publish details of its full contingency recovery plan in the event of a complete failure of NATS finances.

56. The Government's overriding desire to complete the PPP left NATS with an unprecedented and unsustainable level of debt that will be scarcely altered by current restructuring plans. We were told that the PPP and the introduction of private sector management would deliver a more efficient air traffic control service. We have seen little evidence of those efficiencies or the improvements in NATS' management. NATS' business plan is crucial to its survival. We are not convinced that it will deliver improvements.

57. The Committee's previous conclusions about long term funding and alternative ownership models remain valid. NATS provides an essential service that must be run safely and efficiently. The PPP was not appropriate and should be reviewed before it does terminal damage to United Kingdom's aviation industry and vital national interests.

139   Q 427. Back

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