HC Deb 10 June 1998 vol 313 cc579-80W
Mrs. Ellman

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what changes he has decided to make to his policy on international access to regional airports in the United Kingdom following the consultation exercise on this issue earlier in the year. [45433]

Ms Glenda Jackson

The Government wish to encourage international access to regional airports by pursuing a policy of liberalisation. We have decided that open access to all UK airports, except Heathrow and Gatwick, should be offered to all of our bilateral air services partners, provided that UK airlines are also allowed to operate on the same routes. My officials will be writing to all of our bilateral partners where such access is not already available with details of this change of policy.

This change in policy will allow both UK airlines and the airlines of the country concerned to operate to and from that country on such routes without restrictions on capacity or frequency, and without the need for international aviation negotiations to establish such services. This will enable UK and foreign airlines to plan the development of services with confidence that future growth will not be limited by bilateral restrictions.