...As Germany Starts ATC Privatization
And in Germany, the government is considering turning almost three-quarters of its air traffic control system over to the private sector in a bid to raise money and make the system more flexible and competitive. Faz.net reported Friday that the government has approved a bill that would see 74.9 percent of the Deutsche Flugsiche-rung (DFS) privatized by 2006. Retaining 25.1 percent would give the government what it calls a "blocking minority," allowing it to retain enough clout to ensure national interests are protected. Nothing is very easy about these things, however, and the Germans have some thorny issues to work out. While the private interests that might take over the system are presumably looking to make a buck, German airlines have been campaigning vigorously for a reduction in fees, which they claim are 70 percent higher than those paid by U.S. airlines to the FAA. Also, the existing contract with air traffic controllers expires next year and it's expected to be a tough round of negotiations.