To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what indications of support and opposition there have been to his own Department and to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission from (a) the regions of England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales regarding (i) the British Airways investment in Sabena World Airways and (ii) its proposals to develop services to and from regional airports in the United Kingdom and regional airports in Europe; and if he will make a statement.
[holding answer 22 May 1990]: My Department has received a number of representations on this subject, the majority of them from Members of Parliament, including Members from Scotland, the north-west, the midlands, and the south-east of England. A number of the representations expressed views in favour of British Airways' investment in SWA. Fewer indicated support for proposals to develop services to and from regional airports in the United Kingdom and regional airports in Europe. Opposition has been indicated to the proposals from several quarters, expressing concerns about the impact of the BA/KLM/SWA arrangements on competition. As the merger created by BA's investment in SWA has now been referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further. Any representations made to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission are a matter for it.