Transatlantic Air Routes

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 2:35 pm on 29th November 1993.

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Photo of Mr John MacGregor Mr John MacGregor Chair, Privileges Committee, The Secretary of State for Transport, Chair, Privileges Committee 2:35 pm, 29th November 1993

I assume that my hon. and learned Friend is rightly referring to the US Government's decision to grant British Airways its code-sharing rights for only 60 days. That has nothing to do with the liberalisation talks that we are undertaking this year with the US Government. It is entirely to do with a breach of the "United States existing international obligations. We believe that it is breaching those in allowing British Airways only 60 days for its new code-sharing rights. That is wrong and we therefore have no option but to prepare for retaliatory action against US services that were introduced as a result of the Heathrow deal, from which BA's rights come. On 17 November, we accordingly warned the US Government that we proposed to limit United Airlines services to Washington and American Airlines services to Chicago from 12 January—the date on which BA's code-share approval expires—unless the approval was renewed by the United States in the meantime. I am sorry to have had to take that action, but I believe that we had no option, given the United States decision.