The UK Treasury is to open discussions with its fellow partners in air traffic provider NATS (formerly National Air Traffic Services) over the sale of its stake
in the company. The government has already announced its intent to put its new High Speed One rail link into full private ownership and the sale of its 49% stake in NATS is viewed as a way of raising further funds to ease the country’s financial deficit.
After the government, the principal shareholder in NATS is the Airline Group, a consortium of seven UK carriers including British Airways, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic Airways, while airports operator BAA holds 4%, and the remaining 5% is controlled by an employee trust. The initial indications are that the fellow partners will oppose the government’s plans with concerns that a private investor would be more interested in profit than running an efficient service.