Ferrovial bags Spanish air traffic control contract

Together with UK-based NATS, the Spanish developer will provide air traffic control services at 10 Spanish airports. Local private air traffic control company Saerco was awarded the contract for three other Spanish airport control towers.

Ferrovial, the Spanish infrastructure group that owns BAA, and NATS, the UK-based air traffic control organisation, have won the contract to manage 10 Spanish air traffic control towers, Aena, Spain’s airports operator, announced yesterday.

The Ferrovial/NATS team – known as FerroNATS – will provide air traffic control services at Alicante, Valencia, Ibiza, Sabadell, Sevilla, Jerez, Melilla, Cuatro Vientos, Vigo and Coruna airports. With the private sector onboard, the annual cost of air traffic control services will decline by almost 50 percent to €18.1 million, compared to Aena’s current bill of €33.9 million per year. The management contract will be valid for five years, extendable by a further year.

“FerroNATS combines knowledge of the Spanish airport sector with technical expertise in air traffic control systems and the strength of a company with more than ten years experience in a liberalised air traffic control market, such as Britain’s, in which it has implemented continuous improvements, both in timing and in safety,” Santiago Olivares, chief executive of Ferrovial Servicios, commented in a statement.

Spanish firm Saerco – the first private company in Spain to be accredited to provide air traffic control services – will manage three airport control towers in Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Palma, Aena said in a statement.

NATS was part-privatised in 2001 with the UK government retaining a 49 percent stake in the firm. It presently manages some 2.2 million flights per year in the UK and eastern North Atlantic, helping to carry over 200 million passengers. The operator has about 2,000 controllers based at 15 airports and operation centres, it said in a statement.