The deal to admit four British flights a day to Orly from 13 June was agreed at a weekend meeting between John MacGregor, Secretary of State for Transport and his French counterpart, Bernard Bosson, at Annecy in France.
It represents a victory over the French government by Mr MacGregor and the European Commission which made it plain that the refusal to open Orly to British airlines was in breach of both the spirit and the letter of internal market directives on transport.
The French agreement to admit four flights a day from any single United Kingdom airline is in keeping with British Airways' requirements, but falls short of Air UK's goal of running five or even six return flights a day to Orly. Under the current proposals Air France will also be able to run four flights a day between London and Orly.
The UK is expected to challenge before the European Commission the limits on smaller aircraft using Orly. The French government says the restriction is needed to ease congestion at the airport.