Three questions to Paul Noon

Paul Noon, general secretary of the Institution of Professionals, Managers and specialists, which represents air traffic controllers. Q What concerns did you relay to deputy prime minister John Prescott over safety if the National Air Traffic Services were to be partly privatised? A NATS presently operates to the highest safety standards, but if a commercial […]

Paul Noon, general secretary of the Institution of Professionals, Managers and specialists, which represents air traffic controllers.

Q What concerns did you relay to deputy prime minister John Prescott over safety if the National Air Traffic Services were to be partly privatised?

A NATS presently operates to the highest safety standards, but if a commercial operator takes some of it over – and wants legitimately to make profits – we are concerned that business criteria will erode standards of aviation safety.

Q How do you think investment would be affected by partial privatisation?

A The commercial railway companies have clearly shown over the past few years that privatisation does not automatically lead to investment.

Q So what are the alternatives?

A We would like to see public-private deals and a commitment to continuous investment in updating NATS infrastructure and equipment. The Government says this will cost £1bn over 10 years, but that is only the cost of two jumbos over a decade.