Partial privatisation of the UK's National Air Traffic Services (NATS) will be announced this week, according to sources close to the move.

As Flight International went to press, details of the privatisation plan were expected to be confirmed by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in parliament on 27 July, with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions confirming that the timetabled statement is to be on NATS.

The UK scheme - subject to parliamentary approval - will mark Europe's first experiment with private involvement in the air traffic control sector. Previous moves by other countries have gone no further than corporatisation.

Consultation on the plan to make NATS a public/private partnership (PPP), with the government retaining 49%, plus a golden share, was completed in June.

The question seems to be whether the PPP will be put to parliament in November, when the legislative programme for the next session is announced, or delayed.

Source: Flight International