BA urges UK to oppose Heathrow 'open skies' deal

British Airways' top lobbyists this week focused their energies on attempting to kill off a plan to open up Heathrow to rival airlines.

The airline has spent the past few days frantically lobbying the Government over the proposed ‘open skies' deal between Europe and the US. The deal would see the end to the current arran­gement in which only four airlines can fly from Heathrow to the US - BA, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines and United Airlines.

Lexington is understood to be advising BA as its ret­ained public affairs agency, but founding partner Mike Craven told PRWeek it was unable to comment on its work for the airline.

BA head of corporate and media relations Thomas Coops said the airline was ‘vigorously lobbying ministers and MPs on this', adding that much of the work was being undertaken by its in-house team.

The open skies deal is being strongly opposed by BA as it would expose the airline's most profitable area of business to fierce competition from US carriers and other British airlines.

But the deal could be good for the consumer - possibly leading to sharp cuts in fares between London and New York as competition is opened up.

The threat to BA follows a controversial trade agreement in Brussels last week, when EU and US officials signed a memorandum of understanding on the open skies deal. BA wants the UK to vote against the resolution, which is awaiting app­roval by the EU council of transport ministers.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in