Argentina Strips Air Force of ATC Function

 - March 20, 2007, 11:59 AM

Argentine President Nestor Kirchner disclosed on March 15 that the country would end military control of ATC services and signed a decree creating the National Civil Aviation Authority. The government is still working on a timetable to make the transfer, but according to local sources it should conclude by the end of this year. While the government had planned to transfer ATC services to civilian authorities, recent problems with equipment at the Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires prompted airline pilots to strike because of safety concerns, including ATC radar systems allegedly not showing the exact locations of aircraft at the two main airports in Buenos Aires. Defense Minister Nilda Garré has since guaranteed that the equipment is now functioning accurately, but President Kirchner plans to purchase and rent additional radars. When Kirchner took office, Argentina had lost its ICAO Category 1 air security classification. The government was able to regain Category 1 classification in 2005.