GATCO has called on the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Grant Shapps, to begin discussion on the future funding of Air Navigation Services (ANS), recognising its role as a critical element of the UK’s transport infrastructure, involving all aviation stakeholders and professional organisations. This is of particular importance with the transition period after Brexit coming to an end this year and with the current uncertainty about ANS financial regulation.

‘During the pandemic air navigation services staff have ensured much-needed medical, cargo, repatriation and defence flights have operated without disruption 24/7’, said GATCO President and CEO, Luis Barbero. ‘Yet during that period, airlines have been allowed to defer payment of route charges, critically underfunding the provision of air navigation services in the UK’.

So far, the government has made no recognition of the financial difficulties being faced by Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and the effects those difficulties can have on the sustainability of those services and on those who provide the services.

While discussions are taking place in Europe looking at possible changes to ANSPs’ funding mechanisms, the UK no longer takes part in those discussions, even if their outcomes could still apply to the UK.

If the aviation industry is to continue to play its leading role in the UK economy in a sustainable and efficient manner after the current pandemic, and outside of the European Union, it is of the highest importance that the UK Government, the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority recognise the seriousness of the ensuing situation and that discussions take place with all stakeholders about the measures that need to be taken to ensure the continuity and financial sustainability of ANS in the UK.