The financial impact of the air traffic reduction caused by the COVID-19 crisis impacts ANSPs in a hard way. A large part of their costs being fixed, there is not a lot that ANSPs can do to reduce their costs. ATC services must also be maintained to support the few remaining flights. Many states support their ANSPs and in Europe a rescue package has been organised via EUROCONTROL. Many ANSPs are also delaying or cancelling projects and states often ask ANSPs for saving plans before granting them the much needed support.
The way ANSPs are structured also plays a role in their interactions with the state. Some are privatised, other are still state run organisations and this can also make a significant difference when it comes to financing and rescue packages.
With or without rescue packages by the states, an increase of service fees seems unavoidable and it is likely only a matter of timing.
NAV CANADA is amongst the ANSPs that have been privatised but in the form of a non-profit corporation. It has no shareholders but is governed by a board of 15 directors elected so as to represent various interests: airlines, general and business aviation, unions and the federal government. This board certainly had intense discussions in the last weeks.
Before the COVID crisis, NAV CANADA got criticised because of their proposal to raise the ATC fees over the North Atlantic following the reduction of separation made possible by the introduction of space-based ADS-B. The new proposal, which is open for comments and could become effective on the first of September, includes a raise of all fees (terminal, en-route and North Atlantic) by not less than 30%!
Is this only the first move? Will other ANSPs follow this trend? We will follow this closely and report here when new information will become available. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don't miss updates.
Full release by NAV CANADA: https://www.navcanada.ca/EN/Pages/NR-27-2020.aspx