The Spanish Government has decided to freeze the Spanish air navigation service provider (ANSP) AENA's unit rates for 2010 to control spiralling costs at the organisation.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed the iniative and suggested that AENA adopts long-term solutions to address its high labour costs, and lower operating costs for airlines and safety.
AENA controllers reportedly handle just 0.54 flight hours per paid hour.
IATA's director general and CEO Giovanni Bisignani said that reducing the high cost of air navigation services would require more than freezing unit rates at Europe's highest-cost ANSP.
"Minister of Transport José Blanco must take the scalpel to air traffic controller employment costs, which are more than double the European average and make up 68% of the Spanish en route air navigation cost base," he said.
The average employment cost for an AENA controller is €343 compared to the European average of €139 an hour.