How Many Commercialized ANSPs Are There?

In case you came in late, ANSP has become the global term for providers of air traffic control servicesAir Navigation Service Provider. The term has been popularized by CANSO, a membership organization for ANSPs.
The Civil Air Navigation Services Organization emerged in the early years of the commercialization of ANSPsi.e., their separation from state transportation agencies and conversion into self-supporting entities, like utilities, based on charges for their services. Airways New Zealand, Airservices Australia, Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), Nav Canada, and others saw value in creating a membership organization to represent their common interests in dealing with airlines (via the International Air Transport AssociationIATA), airports (via Airports Council International--ACI), and governments (via the International Civil Aviation OrganizationICAO).

CANSO has become a serious player, creating regional affiliates to foster improvements in air traffic management in less-developed parts of the world, taking an active role in the development of the Single European Sky, and representing ANSP interests in discussions at ICAO and elsewhere. Practically from the start, CANSO has had Full Members (ANSPs) and Associate Members (companies with a business interest in ATC that are not ANSPs). In the early years, being a full member of CANSO was synonymous with being a commercialized ANSP. But as the organization grew, it decided that it would better represent the shared interests of ANSPs by opening its membership to all ANSPs, commercialized or not. Hence, the FAAs Air Traffic Organization is a full member, despite its not being commercialized.

But for those of us interested in keeping track of ANSP commercialization, it was frustrating not to be able to tell, from published CANSO lists, how many of the full members are commercialized entities. But thanks to some diligent work by Carter Brockman of NexaCapital, who shared his findings with me, we now know the answer to the question. In the application process for full membership, Brockman learned, there are two categories. Category 1 is for ANSPs separated from government, while Category 2 is for ANSPs inside government. What separated from government means is not necessarily (or even usually) privatization. It means (1) financially self-supporting via charges for its services, and (2) regulated at arms length for safety by a government agency. Thus, the large majority of Category 1 members are government corporations that meet those two criteria.

Sohow many full members are in each category? Of the 63 full members as of August 2011, 51 are Category 1 and just 12 (including the FAA ATO) are Category 2. Category 1 includes the ANSPs of Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, India, Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, and most of the rest of Europe. Category 2 members include Cyprus, Luxembourg, Greece, the Maldives, and the FAA ATO. Thats a very substantial amount of commercialization, since Airways New Zealand got the ball rolling in 1987.
Reason Foundation


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