National Air Traffic Services launches hunt for lobbying agency

The UK's air traffic service provider has launched a pitch process for lobbying help after the Government grounded plans to sell off the body.

Three-year deal: NATS recently won the contract for Luton Airport

National Air Traffic Services is seeking an agency as part of a routine search and incumbent Fleishman-Hillard is repitching.

NATS is a public-private partnership and provides air traffic control services to 15 UK airports and Gibraltar Airport. It is currently owned 49 per cent by the Government, four per cent by BAA, and the rest by a consortium of carriers including BA and Virgin.

The Government indicated in the March Budget that it was looking to raise money by selling NATS, which has been valued at around £1bn.

However, the sale was grounded in July when former transport secretary Justine Greening said it was 'in the best interests of the British taxpayer, the travelling public and the company itself to retain the Government’s shares in NATS at this time'.

German state-owned traffic controller DFS was thought to be interested in buying the Government’s stake.

NATS head of media relations Caroline Alderson told PRWeek: ‘NATS is conducting a review, which is routine, and Fleishman-Hillard is part of that process.’

Alderson declined to provide further information on the process.

NATS recently won the contract to provide services to London Luton Airport. The three-year deal will see NATS continue to provide tower and engineering services, following an open market tender.

NATS also works in 28 countries around the world, with staff based in the US, Spain, the Middle East and Hong Kong. The workforce is mainly made up of air traffic controllers and engineers.

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