Letter to the Editor of The Independent from Sir Michael Bishop CBE
Sir: The government is reviewing its policy options on the regulation of Heathrow-US air services.
The current regulatory regime, which allows only British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines and United Airlines to provide Heathrow-US services, is among the most restrictive in the world and must be abolished. It has driven up fares and deprived the consumer of choice and competition.
While Heathrow toils under high fares and high regulation, other airports in the EU - such as Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris - are enjoying the benefits of choice and lower trans-Atlantic fares that liberalisation has delivered. They are taking business from Heathrow and chipping away at its status as Europe`s most important airport.
All UK and US airlines able to provide services between Heathrow and the US should be given a fair opportunity to do so. This may be uncomfortable for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, but they can no longer be isolated from competition by a system that puts their commercial interests above the interests of consumers.
Sir Michael Bishop - chairman - bmi british midland, Castle Donington, Leicestershire