The competition watchdog will decide on future economic regulation for UK air traffic services after a referral by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The aviation regulator referred the air traffic control regulatory settlement for four years from 2020 to the Competition and Markets Authority after it was rejected by provider National Air Traffic Services.

CAA head of external relations Will Nathan said: “In September 2019, NATS (En Route) Plc, known as NERL, informed us that it had rejected our decisions for the economic regulation of their monopoly air traffic services for Reference Period 3 that will run from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2024.

“In making these decisions we said that if NERL were to reject them we would expect to refer these matters to the Competition and Markets Authority for determination.

“Consistent with what we said in September and the statutory provisions within the Transport Act, we have now referred this to the CMA to consider and report in due course.”

NATS said:The CAA has today referred to the Competition and Markets Authority its national performance plan for air traffic control in the UK for the Reference Period 3 (2020-2024).

“This follows the CAA’s announcement on 18 September 2019 that NATS (En Route) plc had rejected the CAA’s decision for this reference period.

“This referral to the CMA will follow the statutory provisions within the Transport Act 2000.”