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27 December 2011

North-East Air Connections Concern At BMI Sale to BA

SNP DEMAND GUARANTEES OVER SCOTTISH AIR LINKS

Responding to news that International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns British Airways, has bought British Midland (BMI), the SNP demanded guarantees over the future of Scottish air links.

The SNP highlighted research which shows BA's record between Scotland and Heathrow lags behind a more punctual BMI – raising further concerns that the quality of service for Scottish passengers would deteriorate as well as the number of services following the takeover.

Commenting, Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“I am deeply concerned that this deal has gone ahead before we have received guarantees over the future of air links to and from Scotland.  The Aberdeen-Heathrow service, in particular, is of significant importance to the North-east.

“BA has now taken over its only rival which is putting slots at risk on the back of the loss of valuable air links between Scotland and Heathrow.

“The SNP is asking BA for guarantees to ensure Scotland’s air links are not negatively impacted by this and asking what changes we will see.

“We need assurances that further domestic slots will not be withdrawn as air links between Heathrow and Scotland are vital for our economy.

“This comes as figures released showed BA’s record lags behind a much more punctual BMI.  I urge BA to ensure passengers are not left with a poorer quality of service.”

The SNP’s Westminster Member for Parliament for Moray, Angus Robertson, added::

“As an MP I regularly fly on these services from Aberdeen Airport and I regularly see people from Moray who are travelling for business and leisure. These links are critical if we are to support and grow our local economies in Moray and elsewhere in Scotland.

“Research shows that BA's record lags behind a more punctual BMI which will reinforce fears, with this takeover, that passengers could be left with a poorer quality service as well as a reduced number of flight options.

“There is a worry that BA will give its international slots at Heathrow priority over domestic services – and Scottish passengers must not be left with a second class service.

“We have already seen the loss of valuable air links between Scotland and Heathrow, and if BA takes over its only rival, then remaining slots will clearly be at risk. We must have real guarantees that further domestic slots will not be withdrawn.”
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