In the second half of the 20th century, the world’s airports and air traffic control (ATC) systems were essentially all departments of governments. Two events in 1987 launched an ongoing wave of organizational and government reforms. Those events were the privatization of the British Airports Authority (BAA) and the corporatization of the New Zealand government’s ATC functions as Airways New Zealand.
BAA was privatized as a single entity comprising the three major London airports plus several other airports in the United Kingdom. Later government policy decisions led to selling Gatwick, Stansted, and two Scottish airports to new private owners. The