21 June 2002
Mr Paul Taylor
NERL Licence Manager
Civil Aviation Authority
London WC2B 6TE
NATS’ APPLICATION TO RE-OPEN THE EUROCONTROL CHARGE
Thank you for the invitation to comment on the CAA’s preliminary view on the
application from NATS to modify the charge control in its air traffic services licence.
Aside from wanting flights to depart and arrive on time, air passengers’ principal
requirements of air traffic control service providers are safety and capital investment
to meet future demand. NATS has said that it does not see any threat to safety arising
from its financial difficulties in the aftermath of the events of 11 September.
Therefore, in the absence of any apparent view to the contrary in the CAA’s analysis
of NATS’ application, we have no safety-related concerns in respect of NATS
continuing provision of air traffic control services.
The suggestion that there is, however, a risk relating to capacity might in different
circumstances give us cause for concern. We note, however, that the Authority has
conducted a detailed analysis of the NATS financial case and found it largely
unconvincing. The analysis was conducted by reference to the Authority’s statutory
obligations under the Transport Act 2000: the AUC has neither the expertise nor the
remit to seek to offer an alternative conclusion.