Privatisation of air traffic control in Spanish airports

Over the next few days the Ministry of Transport will begin the process which will eventually lead to the privatisation of air traffic control centres in 13 Spanish airports. The airports chosen for the first phase of privatisation have been named as Alicante, Valencia, Sevilla, Ibiza, La Palma, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Jerez, Vigo, A Coruña, Melilla, Sabadell and Cuatro Vientos en Madrid.

According to AENA, the public body which currently controls all of Spain’s airports, the partial privatisation of the management of 13 of its 47 airports is aimed at improving the efficiency of traffic control.

Although there are currently only plans to privatise 13 airports further airports are expected to face privatisation in the near future. During the second phase of privatisation due to begin in 2012 private companies from other countries will be allowed to bid for the control of Spanish airports.

In theory in order to win the bid companies need to offer better efficiency and savings compared to the current situation.

However, it will have a secondary effect which is that it will affect AENA’s general situation because it will free air traffic controllers from these airports. Air traffic controllers who find themselves affected by privatisation will be incorporated into the workforce of airports still under public control.

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