§ Ms Osborne
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that there are sufficient personnel628W available in NATS to maintain necessary service levels while training occurs for the new en route centre at Swanwick. 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth
It is essential that air traffic controllers are trained to a high standard to operate the system at the Swanwick centre.
NATS have told us that the staffing situation with regard to manning of West Drayton while at the same time training for the Swanwick centre is tight but manageable. The training of controllers for the New En Route Centre commenced on 2 January 2001 and will be complete in January 2002. NATS has some 360 air traffic controllers available to meet a budgeted requirement for 300 controllers in the Area Control operation at the London Area and Control Centre at West Drayton and the surplus is participating in the training programme on a rotating basis. By June of this year, the actual number of West Drayton controllers is expected to increase to 374.