HL Deb 29 November 1995 vol 567 c46WA
Lord Brougham and Vaux

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have for the future of the National Air Traffic Services (NATS).

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen):

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport has now given approval in principle to a proposal by the chairman and board of the Civil Aviation Authority that their air traffic control operation should be incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of the CAA. This would help to clarify accountabilities and responsibilities and would mean that the directors of the subsidiary board would have the legal duties inherent in Companies Act status. It would achieve a greater degree of separation within the CAA between services provision and regulation and would pave the way for future privatisation, which remains the Government's longer term objective.

Detailed proposals for establishing the subsidiary by April 1996 are now being developed. In addition, the Civil Aviation Authority will be working with officials from the Department of Transport and the Ministry of Defence to ensure that the integrated civil and military air traffic control service currently provided by NATS is fully safeguarded under the new arrangements.