Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by the Civil Aviation Authority (NAT 4A)


  I am writing on two points which Doug Andrew and I took away to examine further:

  (1)  We undertook to send the Committee information on NATS charges and costs in comparison with other European air navigation service providers. We have attached the current unit rates effective April 2002. As mentioned at the Committee, one unit is generated by a plane with a 50 tonne weight (a Boeing 737 for example) travelling 100 kilometres into controlled airspace. The weight factor is applied as the square root of weight of the plane divided by 50 tonnes. You will note that Belgium and Switzerland currently have charges higher than the UK. It is noteworthy that each country has lost its hub carrier, Sabena and Swissair respectively, meaning a relatively great reduction in expected volumes on traffic.

  The charges given in this formula are reduced as the proportion of heavier traffic increases. Because of the UK's geographical position a high proportion of its charging units are generated by heavier transatlantic aircraft flying long distances in UK airspace. As the weight factor is actually irrelevant to the costs of en route air traffic control services we have also attached a graph showing costs/kilometres across Europe. The UK remains the highest cost.

  (2)  The Committee asked us what recent discussions the CAA has had with ICAO about NATS provision of Oceanic Control Services.

  We have checked across the CAA and with ICAO and we can find no trace of recent discussions of this nature.

Sir Roy McNulty


23 May 2002

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