Airline Subsidies

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd April 1995.

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Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson , Eastbourne 12:00 am, 3rd April 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking within the EU to resist the payment of illicit subsidies to (a) Air France, (b) Iberia and (c) Olympic Airlines. [15704]

Photo of Mr Steven Norris Mr Steven Norris , Epping Forest

The UK has opposed the granting of state aid by national Governments to Air France, Iberia and Olympic Airlines, and we have applied to the European Court of Justice to annul the Air France decision.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson , Eastbourne

Will my hon. Friend take an early opportunity to remind his opposite numbers in Europe that, to use Lord King's words, within less than a decade British Airways went from awful to awesome as a result of privatisation, cutting overmanning and achieving more efficient management, and that if their national airlines cannot achieve that without massive subsidies they should be allowed to go out of business?

Photo of Mr Steven Norris Mr Steven Norris , Epping Forest

I listened closely to what my hon. Friend said and I think that his words will resonate throughout the House and outside. State aid merely shores up inefficiency, distorts competition and undermines European airlines' ability to compete in world markets.