Sir Michael Bishop, bmi chairman, has called for the UK and US governments to seize the opportunity to put passengers first through the introduction of greater competition in the provision of trans-Atlantic air services.
Speaking on the eve of UK-US talks in Washington DC, Sir Michael emphasised the importance of securing a liberalised bilateral agreement, while the opportunity is still available.
Sir Michael said:
“Failure to reach an agreement could usher in years of uncertainty, market stagnation and the continuing neglect of the consumer interest.
“The European Commission appears intent on assuming the negotiating role on behalf of the EU, but it could take years for it to win a mandate from all the member states and many years more for an agreement to be reached with the US.”
No frills carriers in Europe have delivered greater choice, lower fares and rapid growth because they operate in a liberalised market. bmibaby provides an outstanding example of the benefits that can be delivered to consumers under liberalisation. However, bmi and other full service airlines are being deprived of the opportunity to pass the same benefits to consumers in the trans-Atlantic market.
Sir Michael added:
“There is no more scope for unreasonable delay. No deal will mean no change. If the UK and US governments are determined to put the interest of consumers first, a liberalised system will be agreed.”