New Labour faces still more problems with its plan to privatise the national air traffic control service before the general election. Independent safety advisers have handed their report on the three different private bidders over to the government. There are serious worries about two of them. Lockheed-Martin has had huge problems trying to install computer software at the new air traffic centre at Swanwick in Hampshire.
And the safety advisers have threatened to resign if the contract is given to the rival Nimbus consortium, saying this bid does not have 'a satisfactory approach to safety management'. This leaves the consortium led by seven airlines including British Airways. Both the main air traffic control unions, PCS and the IPMS, are holding indicative ballots asking members if they are prepared to strike against privatisation.