HC Deb 06 December 1999 vol 340 cc435-6W
Mr. Jim Murphy

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the Government are doing to encourage competition in the main domestic airline routes in the United Kingdom. [101299]

Mr. Mullin

The Government believe that the interests of UK consumers are best served by ensuring that a framework exists within which airlines can compete freely to provide services. The UK strongly supported the creation of the European Single Aviation Market for scheduled, chartered and air cargo services, which came into force on 1 January 1993.

Within the Single Market, Community carriers may offer the services they wish and set fares according to their commercial judgment. It is therefore open for any Community air carrier to offer domestic air services on routes within the UK, if it considers that such services are commercially viable. It will often be the case however, in the UK as elsewhere, that demand on domestic air routes is insufficient to support competitive provision of services.