Prior to 1987, the world’s airports and air traffic control systems were essentially all departments of governments. Two events that year launched an ongoing wave of organizational and government reforms. Those 1987 events were the privatization of the British Airports Authority (BAA) and the corporatization of the air traffic control functions of the New Zealand government as Airways New Zealand.
BAA was privatized as a single entity, encompassing the three major London airports plus several other U.K. airports. Later government policy decisions led to selling the Gatwick and Stansted airports, and two Scottish airports, to new owners. And the improved performance of the privatized airports inspired a global wave of airport privatization that has led over 100 large and medium-sized airports to be either sold to investors or long-term leased as revenue-based public-private partnerships—in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere.
The outlier has been the United States, which has only one P3- leased airport (San Juan International) and a small number of public-private partnership (P3) arrangements for airport terminals.
The corporatization of Airways New Zealand in 1987 also led to a global trend under which more than 60 countries subsequently separated their air traffic control (ATC) systems from the government’s transport ministry and set them up as self-supporting corporations, regulated for safety at arm’s length from the government. Within the first decade of this trend, the leading ATC providers organized a trade association, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO). Today CANSO has 93 full members (providers of ATC services) and 89 associate members (mostly supplier companies). It is the ATC counterpart of the global organizations for airlines (IATA) and airports (ACI).
This report reviews developments worldwide and in the United States regarding private-sector participation in airports, air traffic control, and airport security.
While the United States remains an outlier when it comes to airport and air traffic control organization and governance, interest in airport privatization via long-term P3 leases continues, as does interest in reform of the country’s ATC system.
Part 1 Overview
Part 2 Airports
2.1 Airport Privatization Overview
2.2 Airport Industry Changes In 2019
2.3 Global Airport Privatizations And P3 Concessions
2.4 U.s. Airport Privatization And Public-private Partnerships
Part 3 Air Traffic Control
3.1 Air Navigation Service Providers
3.2 Global Space-based Atc Surveillance
3.3 Digital Remote Air Traffic Control Towers
3.4 U.S. Air Traffic Control Reform
Part 4 Airport Security
4.1 Contract Screening
4.2 Trusted Traveler
Annual Privatization Report 2020: Aviation
Other chapters of Annual Privatization Report 2020 are here and past editions of the Annual Privatization Report are available here.