Privatise Dutch air traffic control, says former Eurocontrol director

An air traffic control tower at Schiphol airport. Photo:

The Netherlands should privatise its air traffic control organisation LVNV, said David McMillan, former director-general of the European air traffic control organisation Eurocontrol in an interview with the Financieele Dagblad.

This would lead to better services and increase efficiency, he claims: ‘Airlines are privatised, as are many airports. Why not  air traffic control?’

The remit of the LVNL is under examination because of the uneasiness related to the expansion of Lelystad airport. Many political parties would rather see the LVNL first divide up Dutch air space in a more efficient manner so that plans for low level flight paths to Lelystad can be developed.

McMillan headed up the privatisation of the British air traffic control system NATS at the end of the 1990s.  Since 2001, 51% of NATS shares have been held by private investors.  At present McMillan is head of the Air Traffic Management (ATM) Policy Institute which argues for the privatisation of the air traffic control market.

Lack of competition means that many air traffic control organisations are inefficient, conservative and expensive, says the institute, whose members include NATS as well as LVNL.

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