UK air traffic group NATS and CAA regulator agree on 5-year price controls regime

LONDON (XFNews) - UK regulator the Civil Aviation Authority and the air traffic control group National Air Traffic Services have reached an agreement on a 5-year price controls regime that will see the charges NATS levies on flights operating within Europe fall around 15% over the period.

The price reductions are unchanged from initial proposals published in May and come into effect early next year.

Transatlantic flights will see prices fall by some 4% a year in real terms.

"The proposals we are putting forward today are good for customers," said CAA group director of economic regulation Harry Bush. "They will benefit from lower prices over the next five years and NATS will have stronger incentives to improve its operational performance.

"At the same time, NATS will be able to proceed with necessary investment to modernise the UK's air traffic system."

NATS chief executive Paul Barron said: "The regulator has set us some tough challenges for the next five years but we are confident that, with the continuing support of our employees and the trade unions, we will be able to rise to the challenge."

NATS is owned by the Airline Group, a consortium of seven UK airlines, which holds 42%, NATS staff who hold 5 pct, UK airport operator BAA PLC, with 4%, and the government which holds 49% and a controlling golden share.

The Airline Group is a consortium of British Airways PLC, bmi British Midland, Virgin Atlantic, Britannia, Monarch, easyJet and Airtours.

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