Letter: US threat to our airspace

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Sir: Professor Philip Lawrence (letter, 23 April) writes about the importance of the aerospace industry to Europe, and the threats presented to it from the US.

There is a further threat he did not mention: the Regional Airspace Initiative now being advanced by the US. This, in anticipation of the proposed expansion of Nato, would place all air control, civil and military, for the whole of Europe - Western, Central and Eastern - under Nato; in effect, under the US military. US industries would benefit enormously.

Last year, Neil Kinnock, the relevant EU commissioner, presented a White Paper on air traffic management to the European Commission, advocating the formation of single, common regulatory body for European airspace, able to deal with both civil and military aspects of its use, and which other, non-EU European governments could adhere to. Last autumn, the Commission put a formal proposal to the Council of Ministers for the appropriate transformation of Eurocontrol into such a collaborative body.

The Major government has of course been "reluctant" to pool any sovereignty in such a European body - whether on "national" grounds or because the Americans wouldn't like it is not clear.


London W2