Laker crusades against air alliance
Sunday 19 January 1997
Sir Freddie's intervention marks the start of a potentially damaging high-profile campaign against the Government, which could ultimately be joined by Richard Branson and his Virgin Atlantic.
Both Sir Freddie and Mr Branson have written to Mr Major arguing for the BA deal to be referred to the MMC. However, Sir Freddie has also chosen to take his campaign to the wider public by placing advertisements in national newspapers.
In his letter, Sir Freddie reminds the Prime Minister that his low-cost Skytrain was forced out of business in 1982 as a result of what he believes were aggressive and unfair tactics by other airlines.
"In 1982 the British and American flying public lost out," he says. "Transatlantic fares rose because BA and other members of the transatlantic cartel had little or no competition. The public had no choice but to pay the increased fares."
Sir Freddie argues that the draft undertakings to be given by BA and American in lieu of a reference to the MMC are mild and ineffective and will still result in the two carriers having a monopoly on transatlantic routes.
"With such an overwhelming monopoly the public and certainly other airlines will lose out again," Sir Freddie writes. "I believe both politicians and the public are being duped into believing this monopoly will be less powerful than it actually will be.
"This cosy cartel is an affront to fair play and equality."
In conclusion, Sir Freddie says: "Please, Prime Minister, remember the past. Make sure this merger is referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Because, should it be allowed to go ahead, the British flying public will have to live with its dire consequences for years to come."
Sir Freddie's letter comes as the Office of Fair Trading reviews comments submitted on the draft undertakings, which will impose restrictions on the BA/American alliance. Rival carriers from both sides of the Atlantic have condemned the undertakings as being too weak, demanded that the two airlines release more take-off and landing slots at Heathrow airport, and urged that the alliance be referred to the MMC.
BA insists that a referral will not be imposed and argues that the undertakings are already tough enough. It continues to believe that the regulatory issues in the UK can be resolved in weeks rather than months.
David Cameron stung by jellyfish: PM hurt after ignoring advice of locals while on holiday
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
Peaches Geldof funeral: Private ceremony to be held at same place as her mother Paula Yates on Easter Monday
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
iJobs Money & Business
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...