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Maria Eagle MP, Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to the Transport Secretary’s decision to abandon the sale of the Government’s stake in NATS said:

"The Tory-led Government’s plan to sell off the nation’s stake in Britain’s air traffic control was a proposal that should never have got off the ground and now adds to a growing list of u-turns. It is astonishing that it has taken two years for Ministers to listen to Labour’s repeated calls to abandon these plans since they were proposed in the Spending Review. This sell-off was always purely ideological and would have delivered no benefits to the aviation industry, passengers or the taxpayer.

"The strength of NATS’ performance demonstrates the success of the reforms introduced by the last Labour Government and of its current leadership. It would have been reckless and short-sighted of Ministers to put this at risk by selling off Britain's air traffic control for a quick profit when it now makes a substantial annual return that benefits the industry and taxpayers. It was always clear that this sale risked a foreign government securing a controlling stake in Britain's airspace and it's no surprise that other countries were known to be standing ready to snap up this British success story. Such a sale would have jeopardised the operational effectiveness of jointly managed civilian and military use of our airspace and reduced our voice in European discussions on aviation policy.”

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