Nav Canada

Blog, Role of Government, Frontier Centre

  • Prior to 1996, Canada’s government run air traffic control system was sucking $200 million a year from the federal budget and delays and cost overruns were plaguing a computer refit
  • On November 1, 1996 Canada created Nav Canada, thereby commercializing its air traffic control system by separating the operation Canada’s air traffic control system from direct political control and subjecting it to profit and loss incentives.
  • This autonomous agency is controlled by a consortium of airlines, aircraft owners, pilots and air traffic employees, not the government.
  • The sale netted the federal government $1.4 billion.
  • By the fall of 1999, it had increased its efficiency by 32%, lowered its charges to airlines by 33%, increased its average salaries by 33% and trimmed 14% excess managerial and administrative staff.
  • New technology has increased landing efficiency by as much as 30%, saving airports the cost of new runways.
  • Enhanced radars will save airlines $170 million in the next 15 years by letting them fly at more fuel-efficient altitudes with less rerouting.
  • New software permits controllers to discover and resolve ground delays quickly.
  • Long-delayed automated flight-data processors will enable the agency to expand its market reach.
  • User fees are now fairer to commercial and recreational fliers.
  • Staffing was reduced by about 1,000 employees, mostly middle managers who received retirement packages and lateral transfers to other departments to smooth the transition.
  • The operational workforce, better trained and their efficiency spurred by a gain-sharing program, actually increased in high traffic locations.
  • About two dozen countries have shed direct state control of air navigation over the last 15 years.