Britain to privatise air-traffic control

Don't look for Britain to sell off shares of its air-traffic control system to the public. What is called "privatisation" is a much more timid step than that. The government will still retain much control and have a major say in how the new company, National Air Traffic Services Ltd., operates in the future.

However, the for-profit corporation will include participation by business stakeholders:

  • Forty-nine percent of shares in the so-called "public-private partnership" is being reserved for the successful bidder among one of three outside investor groups – largely alliances between major air-industry companies, including Lockheed-Martin Corp. of the U.S.

  • Forty-six percent of the company will remain in state hands – and 5 percent of shares will go to employees.

  • The state will also keep a so-called "golden share" that grants it extra control over the company's future.

    The U.K. government expects to raise the equivalent of R10.75 billion from the sale.

    Source: Marc Champion, Britain's Air-Traffic Control to be Privatized in March, Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2000.

    For text (WSJ subscribers)

    For more on Privatizing Transportation

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