Swedish ACR targeting European market gains

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Privately held Swedish air traffic service provider ACR Aviation Capacity Resources is stepping up its international expansion, and aims to seriously break into the European market.

Marek Bekier, a Swiss Industry veteran, is to lead ACR’s venture in Europe as senior vice president for the European market – a newly created position.

ACR currently manages air traffic control services at 14 Swedish airports of which the largest are Stockholm-Skavsta and Stockholm-Västerås. In the long term, the goal is to establish ACR as a leading player in the European market.

Competitive tendering of air traffic services in Sweden was authorised in 2010 when the new Swedish Aviation Act came into force. This meant that the monopoly of the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration was broken.

Since 2010 ACR, Sweden’s and Europe’s first private provider of air traffic services, has won 14 of the 17 procurements the company has participated in. A total of 20 Swedish airports are now subject to the deregulation and this is seen as a role model in Europe, with many markets expected to follow.

“The Swedish deregulation is a success, and airports have been able to reduce the costs of air traffic services by approximately 30-40 per cent with documented enhanced safety. It has echoed around Europe, and the trend towards permitting competition in other markets is strong. Many airports in Europe have cost-effectiveness problems or need to become more profitable,” said ACR’s founder and CEO Wilhelm Wohlfahrt.

Bekier has previously worked for the Swiss national air navigation service provider skyguide and joins ACR from aviation consultancy Integra Consult A/S in Norway.

ACR said it is not only challenging the state monopolies in Europe but also aims to change the entire playing field.

“This means that ACR can just as easily be hired as a subcontractor to the national air traffic service providers (ASNP), and therefore need not to be seen as a competitor,” said Bekier. “Since ACR entered the market, air traffic services in Europe has started to change, and competition or cooperation across national borders become increasingly common. An example of this is that the air traffic services at Gatwick Airport have been taken over by the German ANSP from NATS,” he said.

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