§ 11. Mr. Galley
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what progress was made during the United Kingdom presidency to secure the liberalisation of air transport within the European Community.
§ Mr. Michael Spicer
Solid progress has been made on the contents of a three-year first step towards full liberalisation by the agreed target date of 1992.
There is now unanimous support for our proposals on capacity and a substantial majority in favour of our ideas on market access. Seven states support our proposals for cheaper fares.
§ Mr. Galley
My hon. Friend is to be heartily congratulated on the progress made during the past few months on the liberalisation of air transport. In view, however, of the dilatory, often hostile, attitude of many of our EEC partners, what concrete steps can he take during the next few months, during the Belgian presidency and thereafter, to quicken the pace of reforms? Furthermore, is he satisfied that British airlines, especially British Airways, will be well placed to take full advantage of a more competitive regime?
§ Mr. Spicer
I thank my hon. Friend for his earlier remarks. Our proposals provide for a great deal more competition between airlines in Europe and will undoubtedly reduce air fares there. As to my hon. Friend's main question, we shall fully support the Belgian presidency in it efforts to finalise the package. We also intend to enter into further bilateral discussions with certain Governments, and in particular I am arranging to have discussions with the French Minister in early February.