Sir - I refer to the letter from BAA's Richard Everitt (Flight International, 21-27 August, P57) responding to Harold Boyer's letter "CAA/BAA's 'rosy relationship'" (Flight International, 31 July-6 August). I must respond, in turn, to Mr Everitt's letter.

The relationship between BAA and the UK Civil Aviation Authority's air-traffic-services (ATS) provider, National Air Traffic Services (NATS), does not detract from the original point. The relationship at the six BAA airports where NATS provides ATS is uncommercial. It has no financial commitment from BAA, which receives NATS services free of charge. This is inappropriate to modern business practice, particularly when all other airports must pay commercial rates for NATS ATS, or supply such services themselves at considerable cost.

Charges for NATS services at six BAA airports are levied direct on to the airport/airspace users under a scheme of charges made pursuant to provisions of the Civil Aviation Act 1982. If such services were provided commercially, the likely annual cost to BAA would be, for example, about £1.5 million ($2.3 million) for aerodrome control at Stansted and around £3 million for aerodrome control and approach radar control at Gatwick.

Mr Boyer also refers to the construction of a new control tower at Stansted. The funds for this NATS project were made available in the form of a Treasury loan to NATS.

Although the project is welcome, what is not is the situation whereby a Government "quango" such as the CAA (through NATS) can use tax revenues in the form of a Government loan to construct an airport building owned by a publicly quoted company with which there is no commercial arrangement for ATS provided. This surely merits rather more than Mr Everitt's deliberately simplistic explanation.


Midhurst, Sussex, UK


Source: Flight International