Laker crusades against air alliance

Sir Freddie Laker has challenged Prime Minister John Major to refer the proposed alliance between British Airways and American Airlines to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border