§ Mr. Steen
asked the Minister for Trade if he will review the progress of the operation of the British Midland Airways Heathrow to Glasgow route; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Sproat
[pursuant to his reply, 14 December 1982, c. 67]: Following my right hon. and noble Friend's decision to uphold British Midland Airways' appeal for permission to fly in competition with British Airways and British Caledonian on this route, the airline commenced operations between Heathrow and Glasgow on 25 October.
The progress of the operation is, of course, a matter for the management of the airline, but I understand that the load factor has progressively increased and flights are currently about 60 per cent. full, which is what the company in its evidence to the Civil Aviation Authority forecast for the first year of operation.
Experience in these early days supports the Government's view that additional competition on the route would be beneficial, and that it was justified by the potential for the development of traffic. Passengers are now benefiting from the greater number of services available each day. Passengers are also benefiting from the fact that the advent of the new service has helped to keep down the general level of fares on this route.