Air Traffic Control: Preliminary Observations on Commercialized Air Navigation Service Providers Page: 3 of 26
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Mr. Chairman, Ranking Democratic Member, and Members of the
Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today on our work
related to commercialized international air navigation service providers
(ANSP). Since 1987, 38 nations have commercialized their air navigation
services, fundamentally shifting the responsibility for providing air
navigation services from the national government to an independent ANSP
that operates as a performance-based organization along commercial
lines.' In the United States, of course, the Federal Aviation
Administration's Air Traffic Organization was created as a performance-
based organization in 2000, but has not been commercialized and remains
entirely within the federal government.
In the past, governments worldwide owned, operated, and regulated air
navigation services, viewing them as a governmental function. But as air
navigation technologies grew more complex and as nations faced
increasing financial strains, many governments reevaluated existing
structures for providing air navigation services, and some decided that
shifting the responsibility for operating and, in some cases owning, the
services to an independent commercial authority could produce
efficiencies that would benefit both users and the government. In general,
the responsibility for regulating the safety of the services is independent of
Today I will discuss how different countries have commercialized their air
navigation services and how commercialization has affected those
services. Specifically, my statement addresses the following questions:
* What are common characteristics of commercialized ANSPs?
* What do available data show about how the safety, cost, and efficiency of
air navigation services have changed since commercialization?
1For additional information on performance-based organizations, see GAO, Federal Student
Aid: Additional Management Improvements Would Clarify Strategic Direction and
Enhance Accountability, GAO-02-255 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 30, 2002); Performance-
Based Organizations: Lessons From the British Next Steps Initiative, GAO/T-GGD-97-151
(Washington, D.C: July 8, 1997); and Performance-Based Organizations: Issues for the
Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Proposal, GAO/GGD-97-74
(Washington, D.C: May 15, 1997).
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Air Traffic Control: Preliminary Observations on Commercialized Air Navigation Service Providers, text, April 20, 2005; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc292551/m1/3/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.